uncleamos: (Default)
Today I went to Crown Fried Chicken, in the 700 block of H St NE.

This is the sort of place that sells anything you can cook in a fryer or on a grill, be it chicken, beef, fish, potatoes, sandwiches, etc, etc, so I was concerned about what I might get. But they were advertising a cheesesteak special, and used the word cheesesteak, so I figured I might as well.

Ordering was easy, although they did want to put lettuce, tomato, ketchup, mustard, etc. on the sandwich and I had to tell them not to. I decided not to make more trouble by trying to get provolone cheese on my sandwich, although that might well be possible.

The customer area is one massive empty (probably bulletproof) room, and behind the heavy plastic the order taking / serving area is a mass of display cases and food warmers. The grill is behind all that, so I couldn't keep a hawk eye on my sandwich as it was being prepared, although it certainly sounded good.

And it was good! Six bucks got me the sandwich, fries, and a can of soda, and unlike at Freddie's the sandwich came on a long roll, dripping with grease, cheese plastering the meat to the bread. The bread still wasn't Amoroso's but it was a darn good imitation. (Maybe it was the same recipe but different water? Beats me.) It was plenty soft and a bit chewy, and while the exterior didn't look inspiring it held together despite being covered in grease. Reminded me basically of a (I know, much cheaper) food cart steak from Philly. In the same vein (and artery I dare say!) the meat was good, chopped very fine, moist and tender. Not the most amazing flavor in its own right, but good enough to not lose any points. (On that note, I've been pondering this. Even in Philly some "good" places serve a steak with more, hm, let's say 'bite' than others, if you know what I mean. A sort of edge to the flavor that I would attribute to spices if I had any reason to think there were any spices involved. My current theory is that it's from a combination of the quality of the cheese and the seasoning of the grill, although I suppose the meat might be involved too.)

But minor ponderings about flavor aside, this was the real deal. Should have tried to order provolone!


Bread: 12/15. Probably as close as anyone can come without a delivery van from South Philly. (Edit: It's possible that it was an Amoroso's roll, just a little old due to having traveled so far. Wikipedia tells me that Amoroso's distributes in 36 states.)
Meat: 10/10. No complaints!
Cheese: 4/5. I settled for american. Will have to see if they have provolone.
Onions: 5/5. They were fried.

Total: A tongue-popping 31/35. This place is currently the champion of the neighborhood, although we're not done. Next will be 'Good Danny's,' a mammoth establishment with banners proclaiming they sell pretty much every food out there, including two ice cream sandwiches for a dollar! Friends tell me to avoid the fish, but that everything else is good.

Oh, and I must try Crown's pig-egg-and-grease sandwiches. The place is right next to the bus that takes me to school, and for $2.50 their breakfast is cheaper than anything I can get near school.

Yum.
uncleamos: (Default)
I live very near (half a block) from what some might call an urban shopping district, and others might call The Ghetto (TM). This means there are many very suspicious, fast, and cheap eateries. I am determined to sample every chopped-steak-thing on a bun I can find.

Today's lunch was from Freddie's Subs and Fries. Freddie himself is a very high energy fellow of Asian descent, and seems to be a neighborhood favorite: a lot of people came in just to buy a drink, which they could have gotten for the same price from anywhere. Freddie doesn't sell 'cheesesteaks' but rather 'steak and cheese subs.' As with the place in Union Station (which was awful), I appreciate the accuracy in the name.

However, this product was pretty good. It was a real pain to order a plain old Provolone wit' (No, I don't want lettuce OR tomatoes. Yes, I'm sure. What? No, no ketchup!), but it was cooked properly (I watched like a hawk). At first I was skeptical because they shoveled the meat etc onto the roll instead of putting the roll down on it (bad because it means the cheese doesn't melt into the roll and hold it all together) but it turned out to be a good idea because the roll, well, the roll was a mess.

By which I mean soft, not appropriate for a cheesesteak, and soft. As expected. (The roll is the most important part of the sandwich, Amoroso's makes the best, and many people swear that you can't get as good a roll ANYWHERE else, because of the, uh, special qualities of Philadelphia water.) But this roll didn't actually get soggy and fall apart because of the shoveling and because the meat was a *little* dry. Not quite dry enough to be distasteful, but dry. More of a Bruno's steak and less of a Delessandro's. On my new 35 point scale (weighted by importance of ingredient):

Bread: 9/15. The bread was weak, but they adjusted the sandwich to compensate for it.
Meat: 8/10. Basically the same as Bruno's.
Cheese: 5/5. Because they're not idiots, unlike the other place.
Onions: 5/5. See above.

A very respectable 27 points. I would go back.

Crown Fried Chicken will be next, probably next week. They advertise "cheesesteaks" so we'll see what that means.

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