Sunday, February 6, 2011
Lee’s Philly Cheese Steak
2610 Gallatin Pike
Let the debate begin: authentic or not-authentic? I’m going to weigh in with not-authentic and who cares? Lee’s Philly Cheese Steak puts out a damn good sandwich- and one well worthy of greasy, beefy respect.
It all starts with that beef- it needs to be a decent cut and then it needs to be spiced, chopped and tossed on the grill. The chopping and the seasoning are critical. Far too many joints serve up long slices of bland meat. Lee’s Philly Cheese Steak gets it right. The beef is well seasoned and for the most part tender. It’s fried up, with onions if you’d like, and then thrown onto a roll with Swiss cheese and mayo. Okay, I know, this deviates in a major way from Philly style and perhaps any East Coast style. At first I was skeptical, but I have to say it works. That Swiss and mayo combo goes nearly liquid and combines with the juices of the meat. The chewy rolls hold up well under the assault. It all stacks up to be a juicy, cheesy and above average steak sandwich. The spicy version adds hot peppers for a medium heat and a nice twist. This second visit showed the steak to be a bit tough. Here’s hoping Lee’s keeps up the quality of that meat. It makes all the difference in the world.
Another weird aspect is the offering of lettuce and tomato. This seems like a quick way to ruin a good steak sandwich. I probably have eaten some 200 steak and cheese sandwiches in my time (primarily in Boston) and I have never seen this even offered. This isn’t Subway folks- let the meat do the talking and save the lettuce for a salad.
Lee’s branches out on the menu with pork chop sandwiches, wings, fried chicken and a number of other take-out favorites. The fried chicken is salty, crisp and quite juicy inside. The tiny East Nashville restaurant is take-out only. A few chairs are there for waiting, but for eating it’s out to the car or take it home.
I think that despite the claim in the name Lee’s offers one of the better greasy beef sandwiches in town. In the end, that’s all that really counts. I paid $6.50 on one visit and $9 on the next.