Monday, June 30, 2008

Pat's vs. Geno's

Yesterday I found myself in Philadelphia. While there, I made a special trip to investigate one of the all-time food rivalries: Pat's vs. Geno's Cheesesteaks. On a prior trip to the City of Brotherly Love, someone told me about the two most popular cheesesteak places in the city, which happen to be right across the street from each other.



My wife and I decided to split up and each grab a cheesesteak from one of the restaurants, meet up in neutral territory, and do a taste test. The first thing we noticed was that each of these restaurants had an incredibly long line. In fact, Geno's line spilled right out into the street. Then, as we got closer, we realized that there was a language that has been developed for the sole purpose of ordering cheesesteaks: wit, whiz, provo, etc... One my last trip to Phili, I got a whiz wit from Jim's Steaks on South Street. This time, I decided to stick with provo wit's as the sodium cheese whiz pretty much hijacked the entire sandwich experience.


Prior to tasting the cheesesteaks, I was hoping I would like Pat's better than Geno's. Pat's is the original cheesesteak restaurant. Additionally, Pat's has only an understated blue sign vs. Geno's Vegas-ish neon carnival.












The first thing we realized when we got the steaks was that they were essentially identical. The bread looked the same, as did the meat, cheese and onions. Only after a few bites from each cheesesteak were we able to discern between the two. While there was definitely more meat in Pat's, the meat from Geno's (at least in ours) was significantly more tender. Therefore, even though I wanted to like Pat's, I had to give it to Geno's.

Truth be told, if there's one thing I learned about Phili Cheesesteaks, it's that they're pretty much underwhelming. They definitely could fill the role of solid, comfort food lunch, but they're definitely not packed with flavor and the meat is pretty stringy (even Geno's more tender cheesesteak). From what I heard, the Vietnamese place around the corner is significantly better than both...



Geno's Steaks on Urbanspoon Pat's King of Steaks on Urbanspoon

-Brian

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

yo! i went to geno's when i was in philadelphia (3 yrs ago). i think someone local told us they preferred geno's, so we didn't do a taste test. also got the provo version, as i don't like my cheese neon colored.

agree...it was tasty enough, but i didn't love it as much as i thought i would...

-moesha

Anonymous said...

Will you people stop getting provolone on your steaks. Wiz is standard at these places but if you dont like it ask for american. Provolone is tasteless.

XWC said...

Yea, both places are pretty good in my opinion, but Pat's edges out Geno's. And I agree about the whiz.... it's THE cheese to put on a cheesesteak, and if you use anything else, it's gotta be american.

And as for the meat not being "the best quality" or "super tender", keep in mind, its a CHEESESTEAK! its not a filet mignon! It's just supposed to be a cheap, quick, fun, tasty food!

I like both pat's and genos, but pat wins in my book

ilovepats said...

Give me Pat's or give me death.

Whiz wit is the only way to go if you're a tourist, it's only after sampling the original that you are allowed to explore the more subtle nuance of American wit or Provolone wit.

Also, you should inform readers that they need to assume the proper position if eating a Pat's while standing, with your feet about two feet apart, otherwise the inevitable drip-drops will land on your shoes.

Anonymous said...

Genos>Pats

Anonymous said...

Pats>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>genos

Anonymous said...

Chicago Pete sez:
Ok, so we tried Pat's yesterday, meat was relatively tender and delicious, had one provolone wit and one provolone wit and mushrooms (I hate cheese wiz). The bread was great, too, and those pickled red cherry peppers were delicious, but H-O-T! Anyway, very good, overall, and I'm sure Gino's is excellent, overall...BUT, it doesn't stand up to a good Chicago Italian beef sandwich, preferably from Mr. Beef, or at least Al's Italian Beef. No chance, no comparison. Sorry.

Anonymous said...

chicago pete:

that is because you're an idiot. philadelphia has their own italian beef and hot pork sammiches. you're comparing oranges to apples.

Anonymous said...

it's "wit whiz" or "wit provo" not "provo wits"! I dunno what you think wit means, but it's philadelphian speak for "with". Like wit or witout onions.

Anonymous said...

Pat's wins, hands down, Geno's was terrible. Was there this past weekend and was dying to know myself, so I hit both spots straight from the airport. Your photo is on two Geno's steaks. Pats chops their meat itty bitty. Genos does the thin, bland strips. In any case, overall, they are both fast food and both suck ass. The winner is Dalessandro's of Henry St in N. Philly, we ended up there twice!

Corriendo said...

Interesting. Yeah..neither is packed with flavor. I agree. I went there in February of this year (2012) I thought Geno's was awful and Pat's was just okay. Here are my pictures and reviews: http://corriefood.blogspot.com/2012/03/pats-vs-genos-philadelphia-pa.html