Sunday, February 6, 2011

Lee’s Philly Cheese Steak

Nashville Restaurants and Food
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.

Lee's Philly Cheese Steak on Urbanspoon


Vic said...

Authenticity is overrated. If it tastes good, it doesn't matter to me. My taste buds don't know "authentic".

Eric and Katie said...

Yep, I couldn't agree more Vic and as someone who is currently researching a potential trip to Philly, the true top joints in town appear to be the small hole in the walls...and they take quite a few liberties with "tradition". I may not even bother with Pat's and Geno's when I'm there.

shannon said...

I'm so glad you reviewed Lee's! I love them so much. I'm usually there 1-2 times a week. Luckily it's only 10 minutes from my house. I've tried most everything, but keep going back to the spicy chicken cheesesteak, -no lettuce or tomato. My husband gets the fried chicken. Salty, crispy, and so flavorful. The wings are the breaded & fried kind. The fish, chicken & porkchops are all hand breaded. The steak is actually steak & not 'steak ums'. The folks there are very nice & always remember the regulars. I hope they can keep it going. I've never been there at prime lunch time, so I don't know what kind of business they do. Someone mentioned once that the exterior & lack of customers scared them away. Don't be afraid of the janky strip mall! You will be missing out on some realy great food.

Eric and Katie said...

Wow..Shannon, you are quite the regular. I agree, I hope they can keep growing. It's an easy spot to look past.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the review, definitely sounds like its worth trying. Im a South Jersey native just across the 4 bridges to Philly. Doesnt need to be authentic to be good. However, for the record, letttuce, tomato, & raw onion is a cheesesteak hoagie and very common back home. Actually, my favorite style.

Eric and Katie said...

Thanks for the correction Anon. I'm about to hit Philadelphia for a brief cheesesteak exploration. I have Cosmi's on my list and I suppose I'll have to try Pat's. Do you have any suggestions?

Anonymous said...

This place just keeps delivering the goods. I want to branch out on the menu, but I keep going back to the Cheesesteak (spicy) and it tastes better every time.

Anonymous said...

This place just keeps delivering the goods. I want to branch out on the menu, but I keep going back to the Cheesesteak (spicy) and it tastes better every time