Review: Sourdough Cheesesteak Melt from Jack in the Box
There’s a new sandwich at Jack’s place. It’s a riff on a Philly Cheesesteak, and as Jack says in the commercial, it’s got all of the makings of the regional favorite, but instead of serving it on a roll (like JITB did in the 90s, with their Philly Cheesesteak Sandwich), this one’s between two slices of toasted sourdough bread. It’s called the Sourdough Cheesesteak Melt.
Here’s how the official press release describes the limited-time item:
The new (sourdough cheesesteak) sandwich is piled high with sliced steak, grilled onions, fire-roasted red and green peppers, and melted cheese, topped with a mayo onion sauce and served on the chain’s signature sourdough bread.
I’ve got to hand it to Jack: the concept is solid, and I’m totally on board with the chain offering more non-burger alternatives. Certain elements of the sandwich came out great: the peppers have some tasty char on them and a pleasant, roasted flavor, and I’m a big fan of the toasted sourdough bread, but the star ingredient under-delivers. The steak is dry and bland, and really only registers as a textural element. That means it’s up to the other ingredients to carry the sandwich, and as tasty as the peppers are, they’re not quite up to the task, especially when they’re so outnumbered by onions. Just look at all of those things! There’s no other way to describe the amount of onions on the sandwich other than an abundance. Even though they are warm, limp, and not terribly aggressive, after a few bites, they become overwhelming. Making matters worse, there’s also onion powder in the mayo, which is applied generously, both above and below the beef. When you combine these two factors, the sandwich skews more to the onion side of the spectrum than it (ideally) should.
I’m not sure if my sandwich was made correctly, because in the publicity photo, it looks like there are two slices of cheese, but mine only had one. The slice of white American cheese was melted on the bottom slice of bread, where it co-mingled with the mayo, forming into a chewy blanket of dairy goo. It was tasty, but could have gone for more cheese (or better yet, a squeeze of Cheez Whiz).
The abundance of onion (and onion flavoring) and the bland beef ended up making the sandwich taste like an oniony grilled cheese with some dry roast beef and a lot of mayo. There’s nothing wrong with that, if that’s what you’re after, but I fear Philadelphia natives would be disappointed to see what’s happened to their hometown sandwich at Jack in the Box. Fortunately, the closest location is out of state, over 500 miles away, in West Chester, Ohio. Go ahead and try it if you’re curious and not craving a burger, but ask for some extra peppers, or for the crew to go easy on the onions.
Pros: Relatively cheap and filling (but not as cheap as a value meal), something new and different, peppers are quite tasty, sourdough bread is a great vehicle for a hot, cheesy sandwich
Cons: Too heavy on the onions, messy to eat, steak is dry
Grubbing on-the-go: 5.75/10
Overall GrubGrade: 6.50/10
More Info: http://www.jackinthebox.com
Note: The new Sourdough Cheesesteak Melt is not available in Las Vegas, Austin, or Cincinnati.
Nutrition Info – Sourdough Cheesesteak Melt
Calories – 456
Total Fat – 24 grams
Saturated Fat – 9 grams
Cholesterol – 53 milligrams
Sodium – 1385 milligrams
Carbs – 39 grams
Sugars – 6 grams
Protein – 22 grams