There's a reason why the Phillies mascot is the Phanatic. Philadelphians are intensely passionate when it comes to both sports and cheese steaks.
There's a reason why the Phillies mascot is the Phanatic. Philadelphians are intensely passionate when it comes to both sports and cheese steaks. Most of them would scoff at the idea of finding an authentic steak sandwich in Ohio, but several places here do serve up fairly legitimate ones.
So what makes a cheese steak authentic? A fresh Italian roll that's soft yet firm, and ideally made by Amoroso, the supreme bakery in Philly. Diced or chunked high-quality beef that's not chewy or fatty. A high meat-to-bread ratio. And a minimal amount of grease so the bun isn't soggy.
A legit cheese steak doesn't have green peppers, mayo or any other silliness - just meat, cheese and onions that are grilled until they're soft. But the cheese is where Philadelphians can't agree.
There are three camps: Cheez Whiz, white American and provolone. Cheez Whiz supporters insist that it's the only true way, yet the canned cheese only became prominent in the past 40 years. No matter the cheese, it must properly cover the sandwich. No bite should be without cheese-smothered meat.
After sampling a few weak attempts at authenticity around town, I found three places that serve the highly regarded Amoroso rolls.
Westshore Pizza, with shops in Reynoldsburg and Dublin, offered succulent, finely diced meat, but some pieces were difficult to chew. While it didn't taste bad, the sandwich was served with white American cheese sauce. It may be some sort of compromise between American and Whiz, but it seemed like cheating.
For Whiz fanatics, Benny's Cheesesteaks in Dublin is the only option. Benny's lets you choose between Whiz and various other cheeses. The meat there was tender and onions grilled to perfection, but the roll just couldn't stand up to the grease.
With its optimal meat-to-bread ratio, tender beef and proper cheese integration, BT Hoagies in Blacklick is worth the drive. The Amoroso rolls there seemed fresher than elsewhere, and the soft onions were authentically mixed in with the meat. Despite only offering provolone, BT has the best and most authentic cheese steak around. Is that blasphemous? Maybe.