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.

Taste: 8.00/10
Value: 6.75/10
Grubbing on-the-go: an awful idea.
Price: $7.59 for a large twelve inch

Overall GrubGrade: 8.00/10

Nutrition Facts:
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

37 comments on “Review: Steak & Cheese from Firehouse Subs

  1. Bekah says:

    That looks fabulous!

  2. stevenp says:

    C’mon, Chicago Italian beef is *nothing* like Philly cheesesteak! For starters, the CIB is cooked in juices and served wet (with extra dipping juice) and PCS is dry-grilled. The differences continue with the other ingredients and bread styles…

    • Zack S. says:

      Thank you stevenp for setting it straight, it saves me the trouble of explaining how a Chicago Italian Beef sandwich is nothing like a Philly cheeseteak.

      Lets not even mention my favourite iteration of an Italian beef sandwich, the Combo (Italian beef and sausage for those that don’t know) which could never be mistaken for anything else.

    • alexg says:

      The only thing they have in common is that there a beef sandwich. A Philly taste nothing like a great Italian Beef Sandwich. Not in the same neighborhood, ever. And if you think it’s hard reproducing a Philly, try an Italian Beef. I’ve had them out of the state of Illinois, and something is always lacking in a huge way.

    • Chefprotoss says:

      That was kinda my point. They are steak on bread, but totally different for the most point after that. I should have referred to NY and Chicago style pizza instead. New Yorkers hate Chicago style pretty much just because it is called pizza. They are both great, but couldn’t be more different.

      • stevenp says:

        Ah. The comment “A Chicago Italian Beef is similar to a cheesesteak, but no one gripes over the differences due to a completely different name” threw me by your use of the word ‘similar.’ I guess you meant they both have beef and bread, although it sounded like you were saying they were pretty much the same thing with different names.

        BTW, I’m hungry all over again after reading this!

  3. SkippyMom says:

    It looks so delicious. I wept at the sodium tho’. Sigh. But a bite, just one bite. . .drool.

    I have a feeling you opened a giant jar of Cheez Whiz with this review. Let the games begin. 😀

  4. Todd says:

    I’m a Hook and Ladder man myself. Love ’em!

  5. Mitchery says:

    You need to check out their cheddar brisket sub. It is to die for.

    • Chefprotoss says:

      I tried it a couple years ago and thought it was just okay. I’m not a big barbeque sauce fan though. I know many a person that raves about it, so I am in an understandable minority haha.

      • MonteMax says:

        I tried it (CheddarBrisket) recently and I was hungover and didn’t really like it. Just wanted to say the reviews are appreciated Chef as you go to alot of the same restaurants as me. We also both happen to live in the Burg, small world.

      • SkippyMom says:

        Yet another reason I like you so much. Not a fan either. BBQ just doesn’t do a whole lot to meat for me. If I go for a BBQ sauce for pulled pork or ribs it is usually the vinegar based kind. YUM.

      • Raiders757 says:

        …as much as I love a good BBQ sauce, there’s just something about chain BBQ sauce that always turns me off. The Cheddar Brisket is pretty darn good once you take the sauce off. Even my wife, who dumps BBQ sauce on most anything, didn’t like it on this sub. It’s her go to Firehouse sub though, sans the BBQ.

  6. Crysta says:

    Firehouse is awesome. I have not tried the steak and cheese yet though.

  7. Brandon says:

    I’d try it, but there is no legitimate reason for me to do so. I recenently (by recently, I mean two days ago) found out about a pizza place that sold cheesesteak’s that are made right. Great bread, high-quality fresh cooked steak with the cheese wiz type cheese and grilled onions, and, it’s only $6.99. Ironically, they make it right, but they call it a philly -_-

    • SkippyMom says:

      Wait. I thought Philly cheesesteaks required cheese wiz to be called a Philly cheesesteak? I won’t eat cheese wiz on anything, let alone a steak sandwich, but what exactly constitutes a Philly cheesesteak?

      And please, only answer if you are from Philly. I am getting confused. Thanks! 🙂

      • Brandon says:

        According to my friend who lived in Philly for most of his life, a cheese-steak from Philly comes with the meat and cheese wiz, and you can opt for onion (and other stuff), called cheese-steak wit.

        A “Philly” is similar, but made with provolone, onions, and peppers. It’s normally served outside of Philly and I guess technically isn’t a true cheese-steak.

        And I was the same way until I tried it. It’s almost like nacho cheese sauce tasting, which normally sounds gross on a sandwich but compliments it nicely.

        • SkippyMom says:

          So made inside city limits is a “PHILLY cheeseteak” and outside of the city limits with extra ingredients and not cheese whiz is a “Cheese steak”. Okay.

          I have always gotten that, just didn’t realize it. We have been eating cheese steaks since birth, but I would never confuse them with the cheese whiz variety that is a Philly.

          Thanks for the clarification. Philly didn’t coin the term cheese steak, so I think that is where I was getting confused. We’re in VA for what it is worth and have had cheese steaks all over the eastern seaboard. What else were we supposed to call a sandwich with steak and cheese? 😀

          And no, I won’t eat cheese whiz. Regardless. It scares me. heehee

        • stevenp says:

          Actually, it’s a “wiz wit” for cheese whiz and onions. (And yes, cheese whiz on a steak sandwich in Philly is amazingly delish!)

      • Raiders757 says:

        They don’t call them Philly Cheesesteaks in Philly. It’s just Cheesesteak or Cheesesteak Hoagie. More often than not, when you see the word Philly in front of Cheesesteak, your not going to get a very good or proper Cheesteak. I’m not from Philly, but I’ve been there, and around them, enough to know better. Adding Philly in front of the term means nothing more than your most likely not in Philly.

      • Chefprotoss says:

        It’s either provolone, American or whiz. Everyone I have known from Philly is hardcore whiz or provolone and will argue which is king. They also seem to love ketchup on a cheesesteak, which baffles me haha

        • iamfromphilly says:

          i am from philly and i can tell you that white American has almost equaled whiz in terms of popularity. Provolone is definitely 3rd but gaining. and, as stated, we obviously never call it a philly cheesesteak or “a philly”

          to be honest i dont know how something with basically 3 simple ingredients can somehow not be replicated consistently elsewhere.. but it really is hard to find done right outside philly. its bizarre.

  8. Mark says:

    Eagles fans only hurl batteries when they’re wrapped in snow and aimed at Santa Claus.

    Looks good, but I’m not a huge provolone or peppers fan. Ironically enough, I’m from Pennsylvania and I have yet to actually have a Philly Cheesesteak.

  9. Michael says:

    While it isn’t a steal, that price tag sounds pretty good compared to what commercial sub shops are charging now.

  10. TJ says:

    “restaurants are doing a great disservice to everyone, including themselves, by calling it a “cheesesteak”, or including “Philly” in the title.”

    I’m probably in the minority here, but I don’t care when this happens, especially if the sandwich is good in its own right. I guess I just find it to be a little pretentious when people from Philadelphia get so outraged over a steak sandwich that isn’t exactly what they’re used to. Or maybe I just missed the fact that Philadelphia patented steak in a sandwich…

  11. Daniel N says:

    I used to really like firehouse but the quality of their subs has gone down hill very badily. Every time I’ve orderd (from different locations) in the last 6 months I’ve gotten a completly soggy roll and made incorrectly, ie hold the mayo but I get mayo,etc.

  12. Griffin says:

    Diangelos sandwich shops in NE…. Killer steak n cheese…. mushrooms onions peppers gooey cheese.. steak cooked to order… Chewy soft bread.

  13. Lindsay says:

    When I first heard that real Philly Cheesesteaks actually use Cheese Whiz (I’m used to provolone or mozza) I choked on my own vomit that unconsciously came up. Steak……..and Cheese Whiz? Granted, I’ve never tried it but, is it good? It just seems like the weirdest thing ever. Why Cheese Whiz? To me it’s not real cheese?!

    • Chefprotoss says:

      It’s one of those things you should just accept and not question lol. No it isn’t real cheese, but some how combined with quality ribeye, it is a thing of beauty. I have tried the various cheese combinations and whiz is my go to.

  14. Lindsay says:

    The pic looks like Roast Beef Aus Jus? With cheese, peppers, etc. I think it looks pretty good? I’m a juicy steak sammie person over a dry anyday.

    • stevenp says:

      Next time you’re in Chicago, you HAVE to try an Italian beef! (Or combo with sausage, which is also awesome)

  15. Aaron says:

    Italian beef is fantastic. Philly cheese steaks made with Cheez Wiz on the other hand taste like what you give someone when you want them to get the hell out of your house.

  16. Royal says:

    the New York Steamer is the one true Firehouse Sub. Their Meatball owns bones too if you get it sweet & spicy style, an 8-inch is far more filling than the Subway 12 inch Meatball.

  17. Daisy says:

    Now I’m craving a combo With hot and sweet peppers from Portillos and I’m in Texas, FML 🙁

  18. Keith says:

    Just paid almost $8 for the medium, which included the $2 upcharge for extra meat. It tasted more like a Philly cheesesteak than other sandwiches in my area (far from Philly!), but it was very skimpy on the onions and peppers, not overly generous on the cheese, and the bread was just okay. Overall I liked it, but I can’t justify spending that amount of money for that amount of fast food, at least not very often.