A Philly Cheesesteak in SLC??
As a Philadelphian living in Salt Lake, I miss food. So I found this place downtown called Maxwell’s East Coast Eatery. I read the reviews and menus. They all bragged about this NYC style pizza and how good and cheap it was (They must have raised their prices because the pizza is $3/slice). I miss my east coast deli style pizza deeply, but what I really miss is a cheesesteak. I’ve been to all the places out here so far. The Philadelphian was the worst. Not even worthy of that name. Guy Richie can kiss my ass, because Moochie’s sucks! The best one so far has been Back East in Fort Union. They owner is from Jersey. I even brought my parents there when they came to town. It still doesn’t compare to places back home like Steve’s, Peppermill, Father & Son’s, Jim’s, or Pat’s (Yes PAT’S!). There’s just something about our Amoroso rolls…Well, Maxwell’s hooked me when they said they served the proper meat, cheese, and bread for a Philly cheesesteak: Amoroso rolls!!
I decided to go on my day off. I was running some errands, so I just got some take out. No biggie because that’s how we do it on the east coast! When I walked in, I noticed the 9+ TV’s…it’s a sports bar. (Yay!) However, there was a definite lack of décor—especially for an “east coast” themed joint. Not to be picky, but Back East is covered with sports and other memorabilia from the east coast. Maxwell’s walls were plain and boring. There were parts of the remodeling that are not completed and in plain distracting sight. It seemed messy. Not like the upscale joint their website made them sound like. Now I know their first location is in Park City, probably more upscale, but that doesn’t excuse the lack of environment. As an east coaster, I’m used to the warm, welcoming, proud rudness of a real east coast eatery.
I ordered a cheesteak—and no, people in Salt Lake don’t know what a whiz wit is. Well, I did teach the guys from Back East so at least they know what I’m talking about. “Cheesesteak with whiz and onions please.” She asked if I wanted fries or a salad with that. It comes with stuff?? Fries. Can’t have a cheesesteak and salad, that’s just blasphemous. It took a few minutes to cook. They had a semi-open kitchen, but I couldn’t see anything. It came out in a paper to-go box. Not wrapped? Okay, I forgot it was upscale. The check? Over $10. The size? 6 or 8 inches. Definitely not 12. Here’s my breakdown of the food:
First impression: These fries look like McDonalds
Second impression: These fries taste like McDonalds
The steak: Bread = AMAZING! I love Amoroso rolls. Meat: Actually pretty decent. Thin sliced, lean meat. I felt like the onions were sliced a big large. I’m used to smaller diced onions that are nearly melted on the grill with the meat (Think Pat’s/Jim’s). There was a lot of grease. After every bite I felt like I had just applied chapstick or something. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but there wasn’t nearly enough whiz on the steak. The whiz was applied to the bun, which I believe is the wrong way to go. If the whiz is on the bun, it can’t soak into the meat. Regardless, this steak needed more whiz. It tasted like it was barely whiz-flavored instead of a whiz steak. I’m also blaming the lack of whiz for the fact that my half my steak was on the plate rather than the bun. The meat kept falling out, which happens from time to time. Yet, some part of me deeply believes if there was more whiz on it, applied in the right way, my meat would have stayed on the bun!
Overall, it was decent. I’m thinking too expensive for a city girl that’s used to a $5 footlong that’s on point. Maxwell’s did just open in July, so I’m hoping with time and some income, the décor/atmosphere problems will be fixed. As well as their liquor license. I don’t drink, but I’d like to be able to bring friends that do…especially to watch the Birds smash the cowgirls again in a few weeks!
BOTTOM LINE: 3/5 It’s not bad, by any means. I just think that with a few little improvements, this could be an amazing sample of east coast cuisine. I do have to try some other items off their menu, but I truly hope they get better. $10 is a hell of a lot cheaper than a $600 plane ticket home…