Food Fight! The Cheesesteak
Thu, Aug 20, 2009 (midnight)
THE BATTLE: Chopped beef straight from the old-fashioned flat-top grill on a soft roll with peppers and onions—it’s iconic American street food. But outside your average mall food court, there aren’t many Vegas eateries specializing in the classic Philly cheesesteak. So for this sandwich scrimmage, we’ll pit arguably the city’s favorite sandwich shop, Capriotti’s, against Pop’s, which stands for “Pride of Philly.” Let the delectable carnage begin!
Capriotti’s: Their “small” roll is 9 inches, submarine-shaped, soft and spongy with a chewy bite. It’s strong enough to hold the ingredients while maintaining its flavor and form.
Pop's: Pop’s roll is 9 inches, too, but a bit wider and just as fresh, even though it’s imported. It’s more of a vessel for the sizzling goodies inside. This bread shuns the spotlight.
Capriotti’s: Cap’s serves up tender steak chopped into smallish strips, with a pretty good meat-to-bun ratio. It tastes beefy. Perfectly adequate.
Pop’s: These guys take their meat very seriously, piling on thinly sliced sirloin that packs real flavor, and it’s almost exploding out of the bun.
Capriotti’s: Every sandwich shop offers a variety of cheese options, but we can only judge on the standard selection. The designated-for-steak cheese at Capriotti’s is a white American that melts very nicely between the other ingredients and has a subtle zip to it. It’s pretty good, actually.
Pop’s: At the keepin’-it-real Pop’s, authentic Philly style means straight-up Kraft Cheez Whiz. It’s tangy, gooey and nuclear yellow. A purist would argue it’s not a true cheesesteak without Whiz, and Capriotti’s doesn’t stock it.
Capriotti’s: Again, you can always choose your own, but for consistency’s sake we’re going to order onions, peppers and mushrooms. At Capriotti’s, the mushrooms are undetectable once they’ve been cooked, but sweet and hot peppers add a nice twist, with some vinegar and heat.
Pop’s: Pop’s innovates by using canned mushrooms, which maintain their flavor and integrity better, and chunkier pieces of onion and green bell pepper. As with the steak, there’s just more to love in the Pop’s sandwich.
THE OVERALL WINNER: Pop's
Far be it for us to disparage the beloved Capriotti’s, but this ain’t a turkey or pastrami Food Fight.
There is no competition.