Review: Steak & Cheese from Firehouse Subs
Okay, so cheesesteak purists hate 99% of the supposed “Philly Steak and Cheeses” on the market, and sometimes rightfully so. I get it. The issue though, is not with the bastardization of a regional favorite, but with the fact that the rest of the country serves a completely different sandwich. The issue is in the name, not the details.
A Chicago Italian Beef is similar to a cheesesteak, but no one gripes over the differences due to a completely different name. I would say that those 99% of “Philly Steak and Cheeses”, are in fact just a variation of the “cheesesteak hoagie”. A cheeseteak hoagie is a cheesesteak with lettuce, tomato, and mayo. There is nothing wrong with that, but restaurants are doing a great disservice to everyone, including themselves, by calling it a “cheesesteak”, or including “Philly” in the title. I will now dub what we have all been eating outside of Philadelphia a “Steak and Cheese”. If a restaurant calls a Steak and Cheese something else, you should demand they stop. Not to say that the humble Steak and Cheese can’t be an epic sandwich of greatness that can rival any regional favorite, but it needs to be looked at in the proper context. Why am I talking about this? Because Ryan already covered the basics of Firehouse Subs, and I needed something to write about. With all that said, let’s see if Firehouse Subs gets it right in flavor, as well as in not ubiquitously referring to the city of brotherly love.
Firehouse Subs describes their Steak and Cheese like this:
Sauteed sirloin steak, melted provolone, onions, bell peppers, mayo, mustard.
I have ordered this sandwich twice and it was completely different both times. The first time I asked for it with everything, and received lettuce and tomato. The second time, I asked for everything and got the description you see above. Whatever though, this sub reeks of awesome. If you are used to the blah-ness of Subway, Firehouse will knock your socks off.
First off, let’s touch on the bread. This is the star. A great, fluffy hoagie roll steamed to perfection. Steaming is totally underutilized in restaurants, but especially sub shops. In this case, it elevates simple white bread to a harmonious chord becoming one with the ingredients. The steak is decent. I would say it is on par with Great Steak. It lacks the big beefy flavor I desire, but it’s still clean and doesn’t taste super processed like Subway’s steak.
The steaming excellently melts the provolone, and if you’ve ever had a Steak and Cheese with half melted cheese, you know that is bad eats. I’m a mayo lover, so no qualms there, but I wouldn’t have known the mustard was there if you didn’t tell me. It’s about as tame as mustard can get. Although, considering all the outlandish plate garnishes I do in my line of work, a simple smiley face drawn with mustard made me chuckle. In a good way.
The onions and peppers were just there and seemed like an afterthought. No real flavor came from either. At $7.59 for a twelve inch, it’s an okay value. You get what you pay for and the price is fair. It’s not a steal, but I certainly don’t feel ripped off. All in all, it’s a high quality Steak and Cheese worthy of the name. A name that shouldn’t be confused with its Eagles fan cousin. I also dig the fact that I get a complimentary pickle. Pickles are delicious and like all great things, not paying for them makes them better. So if you have a hankering for a sub, give Firehouse a try. With the combo of quality and a free pickle, what do you have to lose?
Pros: Raises the bar for corporate sub shops. Sweet, sweet steam. Rockin' bread. Pickles.
Cons: The onions and peppers were pretty weak. Eagles fans and their penchant for hurling batteries.
Grubbing on-the-go: an awful idea.
Price: $7.59 for a large twelve inch
Overall GrubGrade: 8.00/10
12" Steak and Cheese (on white)
Calories - 1280
Total Fat - 76 grams
Saturated Fat - 21 grams
Cholesterol - 170 milligrams
Sodium - 2970 milligrams
Carbs - 89 grams
Dietary Fiber - 4 grams
Sugars - 15 grams
Protein - 69 grams