American restaurants are pretty few and far between in Brisbane, and the majority of us wouldn’t have a clue what a Philly Cheesesteak would be. I know I had to do a bit of googling to find the history behind these sandwiches, before we went to PJ’s Steaks to try them out.
Philly cheesesteaks were developed in the 1930’s to be sold at a hotdog stand in Philadelphia, and popularity grew from there. A Philly cheesesteak consists of very thinly sliced steak, browned on a grill with onion or indeed other additions such as mushrooms or capsicum, and assembled into a long roll with melted cheese.
PJ’s Steaks opened in West End recently, and owners PJ and James are responsible for introducing the Philly cheesesteak to Brisbane. We chatted to James when we visited last month and its clear that he is a) genuinely American and b) he loves what he does and is super friendly.
The interior of PJ’s is very bright, with a limited number of tables with coloured stools. Adorned across one wall is a fantastic assortment of photos of American characters such as Steve Urkel, Will Smith as the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and Christopher Reeve as Clark Kent. Michael Jackson’s Thriller album was playing as well, only adding to the atmosphere.
There are various beers (both American and Australian) available, as well as American soft drinks such as root beer and an orange cream soda which was super delicious. L was pleased to find Dr Pepper which is his absolute favourite.
I decided to have the original cheesesteak, whilst L had the mushroom cheesesteak, and we ordered a side of onion rings. Other sides do include tater tots and and sweet potato fries which I would love to try out next time. Additions to your cheesesteak can include jalapenos or pickles, and there is a chicken variation as well. The cheesesteaks come with your choice of cheese; American, Cheddar or Provolone which I read is the most traditional.
The cheesesteaks took no time at all to come out, and were served piping hot on paper, sliced in half. Biting into it, the combination of melty cheese with the soft sliced steak meat was amazing, particularly as the white bun was so incredibly soft. The amount of meat is totally generous, and I found myself getting full quickly and was unable to completely finish mine off. Eating was messy, but that adds to the fun.
The onion rings were fabulous and we were given an array of sauces (BBQ, ketchup, tabasco), so we squirted the sauces liberally on the paper of the cheesesteaks to dip into.
You couldn’t eat this food everyday without making yourself 1000 times more prone to a heart attack, but it was a great meal. Don’t be fooled, this is definitely diner/takeaway style food (don’t expect anything more), but we would definitely prefer PJ’s steaks over other fast food options or a Subway sub anyday.
CPJ’s Steaks 2/173 Boundary Street West End Ph 07 3844 1886 Open Lunch and Dinner Mon-Sat