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Best Italian Beef

Best Italian Beef
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  • Post #721 - November 30th, 2015, 11:19 am
    Post #721 - November 30th, 2015, 11:19 am Post #721 - November 30th, 2015, 11:19 am
    I'm an EP Native and I've never even thought that a combo doesn't work. It's always worked for me. Must be our upbringing ;)
  • Post #722 - November 30th, 2015, 11:24 am
    Post #722 - November 30th, 2015, 11:24 am Post #722 - November 30th, 2015, 11:24 am
    The Food Diva wrote:I'm an EP Native and I've never even thought that a combo doesn't work. It's always worked for me. Must be our upbringing ;)

    And heck, you're a diva! :D

    =R=
    Why don't you take these profiteroles and put them up your shi'-ta-holes? --Jemaine & Bret

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #723 - November 30th, 2015, 6:06 pm
    Post #723 - November 30th, 2015, 6:06 pm Post #723 - November 30th, 2015, 6:06 pm
    I love combos, but I'm thinking a double sausage, dipped, hot, might be better? ??
    i used to milk cows
  • Post #724 - December 1st, 2015, 3:06 pm
    Post #724 - December 1st, 2015, 3:06 pm Post #724 - December 1st, 2015, 3:06 pm
    I ask for the beef on the bottom/giard in the middle/sausage on top....never seem to have a problem.
  • Post #725 - December 3rd, 2015, 9:06 am
    Post #725 - December 3rd, 2015, 9:06 am Post #725 - December 3rd, 2015, 9:06 am
    Had lunch yesterday at the new BeefBelly over on Central and Lawrence. It's the brother of BRGRbelly which used to go by Leadbelly. I liked their burger spot well enough when I tried it. So when I heard they were doing an Italian Beef featured place my thought was that if they gave the same care to making a good Italian beef sandwich that they do the burgers and fries they might have something to sit on.

    Image
    Corner of Central and Lawrence

    They did a nice job on the inside with quite a few tables to sit at which is good because they were already really busy. The menu is based on Italian Beef and the original with hot and or sweet peppers is one of the options. That said I don't think I need to explore different takes on this true Chicago classic. I asked for a "beef with hot" and the lady at the register replied "Original?" to which I nodded yes but she must not of understood the lingo as I was delivered a bare beef. I'll be honest it didn't look all that pretty without the peppers. The gravy is pretty damn red and the beef very limp and somewhat clumpy. I was kind of turned off but it looked better once I asked for some hot peppers and it did end up tasting much better than it looked at first. The beef was not dry nor chewy but it did lack texture and was very wet. I'm guessing from sitting around swimming in the gravy. Seasoning wise it wasn't really bad or great but I appreciate the effort as homemade beef is becoming a lost art. I think they'll do well as they seem to have a good following thru the burger spot and the neighborhood will come by for Italian Beef, fresh cut fries, and what looked to be a decent beer selection in bottles, cans, and draft. I'm sure I'll be back.

    Image
    Beef with Hot

    BEEFBELLY
    4800 N Central Ave
    Chicago, Illinois
    (773) 283-5545
  • Post #726 - April 6th, 2016, 3:11 pm
    Post #726 - April 6th, 2016, 3:11 pm Post #726 - April 6th, 2016, 3:11 pm
    It had been a few years since I stopped by my native beef stand, the ~OG~ Pop's on 127th in Palos Heights. Hot damn, this was the best beef I've had in years.

    Having grown up eating this sandwich, of course there's a nostalgia factor. Since leaving the SW burbs, the Kedzie location has been a much easier hit for me. The last few beefs I've had there, however, have been underwhelming– the jus on the under-seasoned side, meat either somewhat spent or overly mulched. The "hot mix" giardiniera has always been on point at all locations, my favorite style for an IB, elementally clean and vegetal with a bright hot heat.

    Image

    But this guy. As juicy of a beef as I've met. Slices of meat maintaining their structurally integrity while melt-in-your-mouth tender. Hugely aggressive seasoning profile, garlic for days. Hot mix doing its thing. I have noticed that both this and the Kedzie location use a unique style of roll– with a lighter crumb and a glazed crust. Not bad, just different than the standard issue chewy Gonnella/ Turano breed.

    This beef is my archetype.

    This sandwich was so good, I would have liked to post this in a dedicated thread, but the only one I could find is specific to the Lyon's location where I've never been.

    Pop's Italian Beef & Sausage
    7153 W 127th St, Palos Heights, IL 60463
    (708) 361-0087
  • Post #727 - May 15th, 2016, 10:18 am
    Post #727 - May 15th, 2016, 10:18 am Post #727 - May 15th, 2016, 10:18 am
    Finally made it to Mama D's in Lemont yesterday. It was so good I had to order a second beef. I was not expecting a possible top 5 contender, but it was that good. The bread was a little different (Mazzeo Bakery) but it was really good and held up the entire time. I'm going to be hitting some more southwest suburban beef joints soon and I will be back.

    Mama D's
    12420 Archer Ave
    Lemont IL
    630-243-1212
    Last edited by Ram4 on May 31st, 2016, 12:18 am, edited 1 time in total.
  • Post #728 - May 16th, 2016, 10:05 am
    Post #728 - May 16th, 2016, 10:05 am Post #728 - May 16th, 2016, 10:05 am
    Don't know who has the best beef, but after last night's meal I can say with certainty its not Buono Beef.
  • Post #729 - May 24th, 2016, 8:34 am
    Post #729 - May 24th, 2016, 8:34 am Post #729 - May 24th, 2016, 8:34 am
    I love combos. They are better than any sandwich alone. Love Love. They prevent any sausage from being too dry alone. My go to place is Johnnies in Elmwood Park but I am not always around there so around my home I go to Buona beef which is better than the Portillos near me.
    Toria

    "I like this place and willingly could waste my time in it" - As You Like It,
    W. Shakespeare
  • Post #730 - May 24th, 2016, 1:19 pm
    Post #730 - May 24th, 2016, 1:19 pm Post #730 - May 24th, 2016, 1:19 pm
    Just ran across this place here. Im assuming its fairly new. Anybody try it out yet?

    https://www.yelp.com/biz/scalis-beef-chicago
    #SOUTHSIDESLITHER
  • Post #731 - May 25th, 2016, 1:09 pm
    Post #731 - May 25th, 2016, 1:09 pm Post #731 - May 25th, 2016, 1:09 pm
    shakes wrote:Don't know who has the best beef, but after last night's meal I can say with certainty its not Buono Beef.


    IMO - Buona, no es bueno
  • Post #732 - May 25th, 2016, 3:09 pm
    Post #732 - May 25th, 2016, 3:09 pm Post #732 - May 25th, 2016, 3:09 pm
    shakes wrote:Don't know who has the best beef, but after last night's meal I can say with certainty its not Buono Beef.


    Which one? and do you care to elaborate on what made it No Bueno?

    With other options close by (i.e. Johnnies) I can honestly say that I do not partake in Buono Beef anywhere near what can be called frequently, but when I have eaten there it has always been more than an acceptable beef sandwich. I would be curious as to what the issues are.
  • Post #733 - May 25th, 2016, 5:00 pm
    Post #733 - May 25th, 2016, 5:00 pm Post #733 - May 25th, 2016, 5:00 pm
    AlexAC wrote:Just ran across this place here. Im assuming its fairly new. Anybody try it out yet?

    https://www.yelp.com/biz/scalis-beef-chicago
    I ran over and tried Scali's on Friday. The meat was a little tough and there was a strange smell to it that made me not want to finish it. It gets a thumbs down from me. I did appreciate nice service and they took a few minutes to prepare it.

    I also went on a little beef tour with my brother and tried Frangella in Palos Hills (very good - huge sandwich), Pop's in Palos Heights (I guess you have to grow up like Jefe did with it (read the review earlier in this thread) - didn't do much for either of us because of the unusual giardiniera/oil leaving a funny aftertaste which many love, but we don't get it), and we had Mama D's again and it was great. Heavy on the black pepper, and tender as can be - Mama D's of Lemont is one of the best beef sandwiches in the Chicago area that I've had. I also finally made it to Frannie's (Schiller Park) and it was another winner.
  • Post #734 - June 24th, 2016, 11:36 pm
    Post #734 - June 24th, 2016, 11:36 pm Post #734 - June 24th, 2016, 11:36 pm
    Note the text color change to alert you to a re-edit & revision.
    Yet again, this thread has gone far too long without a reply. :o
    What is the matter with you people? :wink:
    I am going to recommend four of the five italian beef sandwiches I have had recently. I'm actually composing this from the (secret) 2nd floor bar at O'Callaghan's in central Chicago, so the photographs of the sandwiches will have to wait for the next revision.
    Here is the revision.
    I got to Margie's on Cicero Ave. This was a quality italian beef sandwich. The beef (the most important component) was brined in a broth that enabled its flavor to emerge. The hot peppers were a solid component. They weren't overloaded with capers (or jalapeños). Significantly, the french fries included with it (in the base price) were such that you could sop up the broth with them - and it improved their taste. Image
    There is now a second Margie's location on the corner {sort of} of W. North Ave. and Lavergne Ave. The westbound #72 North bus stops directly in front of it. Intriguingly, the shack is pushing its tacos and other Mexican sandwiches rather than the italian beef, but I insist that the italian beef there is exactly like the one on N. Cicero Ave. Image
    The third italian beef was from Frannie's in Schiller Park.
    Look again at how far back I had to search for a mention of it. This is a stunner. Maybe its odd hours are the reason. (It closes at 8:00 pm every night.) The beef was superb. The peppers were mostly celery bits (my preference). The broth was supple. I could eat this every day for the next century and be OK with it. Oh, and as this is my want, the price was much below average. Image
    If you're coming here from the southeast, make the left turn onto Irving Park Rd. Go the block west to Old River Road. Turn north. The next block: You'll be confronted with a Do Not Enter sign. Turn west (left). Then, turn north immediately into the alley just west :!:. See the side door entrance to its parking lot on your right. Frannie's has gone into my top 5 italian beef sandwiches.
    The fourth italian beef sandwich was on Tuesday (a late lunch) at Mr. Beef On Orleans. OK - I've already expressed this is my favo(u)rite italian beef sandwich on the planet. This odd chance (my business downtown finished swiftly and I had a remnant hour on my 1-day Ventra pass to go somewhere) proved that even at non-rush hour times, Mr. Beef on Orleans delivers the goods. :D Image
    The 5th italian beef sandwich was from Phil's Pizza in Bridgeport. If you did not click on that link, Phil's Pizza got my vote, and won the ‘people's choice’ award for the best italian beef sandwich served that afternoon. This was its shot at seeing if it measured up to the other italian beef sandwiches. Realize this was at its own shop - not being transported so many blocks away.
    How should I scribe this? It was OK. But I submit it wasn't worth travelling so many miles in order to have it. The beef tasted fine. I asked for it dipped. It was dipped. The bread held up to the dipping. In one aspect; the hot peppers (no additional charge) are kept separate when you order it. My dad [R.I.P.] would appreciate this. Then, if you eat this on the premises, you are not given utensils (Why do you need utensils? What happens when peppers and | or beef fall out of the sandwich when you pick it up?), and you are not given napkins. After a couple of minutes standing by the counter waiting for somebody to notice me, I gave up, went back to my seat, and dug out a couple of napkins [big ones] out of my satchel. The sandwich itself was solidly in the middle: It won't turn you off, and I wonder how it turned people on. (Ohmigawd. If this was the best italian beef sandwich in Bridgeport, how are the other contestants?) Image
    Last edited by pudgym29 on July 9th, 2016, 12:27 am, edited 1 time in total.
    The links you can use, without the fluff, or sales pitch: http://208.84.112.25/~pudgym29/bookmark4.html
  • Post #735 - June 25th, 2016, 6:07 pm
    Post #735 - June 25th, 2016, 6:07 pm Post #735 - June 25th, 2016, 6:07 pm
    Great post pudgym29. Yeah, Frannie's was a great beef. Far better than I was expecting. I'll have to check out Margie's soon, thanks for the tip. Mr. Beef on Orleans has been letting me down for years after it was one of my favorites 20 years ago and I am in no hurry to go back to be let down again. But I suppose I will eventually. I think I'll pass on Phil's Pizza in Bridgeport. I was in Lake Zurich last month, and I was told to try a beef at Ric's Dog Gone Good Food on Route 22. It was ok, nothing I would go back for.

    I've been going to Luke's of Lake Bluff just about every week for a beef lately and I have to tell you it's a great version. They slice the meat really thin and it's usually very tender. They do the beef and giardiniera in house and it's based on the Luke's on Jackson St downtown recipe. Bread is Gonnella, though it seems to fall apart pretty easily when dipped, so I get the juice on the side to have some control over that. The hot dogs are Vienna, but they use skinless. Oh well, go for the beef (or combo - my brother liked it there).

    Luke's of Lake Bluff
    203 Waukegan Rd
    Lake Bluff IL
    847-615-9705 (summer hours - open til 9 most days)
  • Post #736 - June 25th, 2016, 10:45 pm
    Post #736 - June 25th, 2016, 10:45 pm Post #736 - June 25th, 2016, 10:45 pm
    Additional intel on Luke's, should you want to peruse the menu:

    Luke's of Lake Bluff
  • Post #737 - June 26th, 2016, 11:41 am
    Post #737 - June 26th, 2016, 11:41 am Post #737 - June 26th, 2016, 11:41 am
    sundevilpeg wrote:Additional intel on Luke's, should you want to peruse the menu:

    Luke's of Lake Bluff

    Just keep in mind Luke's is a typical fast food joint that does other things better than the skinless hot dog. For example they do a surprising great homemade cream of chicken rice soup. Most of their stuff is typical frozen fried food including the food service fries (which I happen to like there).
  • Post #738 - June 27th, 2016, 7:27 am
    Post #738 - June 27th, 2016, 7:27 am Post #738 - June 27th, 2016, 7:27 am
    It's ok. Not as good as Tore & Luke's on Rand. There is a place just south of there called Scooby's that I would rate as slightly better beef and much better spuds.
  • Post #739 - June 27th, 2016, 11:43 am
    Post #739 - June 27th, 2016, 11:43 am Post #739 - June 27th, 2016, 11:43 am
    Sorry, Scooters is the name of the place on Waukegan and Rockland Rd in Lake Bluff.
  • Post #740 - June 27th, 2016, 1:03 pm
    Post #740 - June 27th, 2016, 1:03 pm Post #740 - June 27th, 2016, 1:03 pm
    My friends in the area don't care for Scooters, so based on that, I've never gone there save for a hot dog once over 10 years ago. Yes, they do have fresh cut fries and Luke's doesn't (but Luke's are tasty). It says they do their own beef so I think I'm going to try it - maybe tomorrow.

    I haven't had Tore & Luke's on Rand. I've had the old Tore's that closed in the city (on Elston I believe) and it was no good.

    I'm fully aware of the very limited beef options in the Lake Bluff (and entire North Shore) area so I lean on Luke's more than I normally would if had choices. But after trying dozens of the best beef joints in the Chicago region, I think Luke's of LB serves one of the better ones.
  • Post #741 - July 25th, 2016, 11:18 am
    Post #741 - July 25th, 2016, 11:18 am Post #741 - July 25th, 2016, 11:18 am
    I've had multiple beeves over the years at Luke's/Mundelein--they're OK but nothing to write home about.

    Gotta say, though, last night. We had been sitting at Wildfire ready to order when a family crisis called us away. Hours later I picked up a large beef at Portillo's/Vernon Hills when we realized we hadn't eaten dinner. It was with sweet peppers & dipped. It was, dare I say, perfect. Spicings, wetness, bread & beef consistency all top notch, not nearly as greasy as Al's, which usually is my litmus test. And even better than when I bring the Portillo's makings home to construct them myself.

    They've got it down, period.
  • Post #742 - July 25th, 2016, 12:37 pm
    Post #742 - July 25th, 2016, 12:37 pm Post #742 - July 25th, 2016, 12:37 pm
    The recent posts in this thread have motivated me to check out the Italian beef at Luke's in Lake Bluff, which sounds good, first chance I get.

    But I have to say, as a resident, maybe I should be a booster of Luke's in Mundelein, but I just can't be. I've repeatedly gotten such disappointing simple things from them, like hot dogs and fries, that I just can't bring myself to spend as much $$ as they want for their Italian beef.

    Portillo's on Route 60 in Vernon Hills is the same distance from my house and has reliably very good Italian beef, Polish sausage, and meatball sandwiches, among many other things. I'm grateful to have a Portillo's so close.
    "Your swimming suit matches your eyes, you hold your nose before diving, loving you has made me bananas!"

    As Carl Sagan once said, to make an apple pie truly from scratch, you must first invent the universe. And sometimes I just don't have the time and energy to invent the universe. So I figure it's okay to buy some stuff.
  • Post #743 - July 25th, 2016, 12:58 pm
    Post #743 - July 25th, 2016, 12:58 pm Post #743 - July 25th, 2016, 12:58 pm
    Katie I would definitely go to Portillo's over Luke's of Lake Bluff for just about anything. But if you want something a little different, go there. I think their beef is really good, but my only warning to you is if you ordered it dipped, the bread disintegrates. So I get the beef juice on the side. They have their own recipe for the beef and the hot peppers which most don't.

    I finally tried Scooter's beef sandwich. It was fair at best. I got a sense it could be better so I might go back, but mine had a lot of tough pieces with fat. The bread did hold up and did not fall apart which was a good thing.
    Last edited by Ram4 on July 25th, 2016, 1:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.
  • Post #744 - July 25th, 2016, 1:03 pm
    Post #744 - July 25th, 2016, 1:03 pm Post #744 - July 25th, 2016, 1:03 pm
    My brother and I made it to Herm's Palace on Dempster in Skokie a couple of weeks ago to try their homemade beef. It was pretty good, everything was there in terms of what you want in a beef but the slices were a little too thick. We told the owner and he was very appreciative of us mentioning that. They did have a newer guy slicing the meat, but they should still be on top of the quality control. We'll be back to try it again. Definitely one of the better beefs on the North Shore, which isn't hard since we pretty much have Portillo's.

    Herm's Palace
    3406 Dempster St
    Skokie IL
    847-673-9757
  • Post #745 - July 25th, 2016, 2:45 pm
    Post #745 - July 25th, 2016, 2:45 pm Post #745 - July 25th, 2016, 2:45 pm
    Ram4 wrote: Definitely one of the better beefs on the North Shore, which isn't hard since we pretty much have Portillo's.


    GNR Poochies, right down the street from Herm's, does have beef on their menu, but I must confess that in all the decades I've been going there, I've yet to try one.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #746 - July 25th, 2016, 7:23 pm
    Post #746 - July 25th, 2016, 7:23 pm Post #746 - July 25th, 2016, 7:23 pm
    stevez wrote:GNR Poochies, right down the street from Herm's, does have beef on their menu, but I must confess that in all the decades I've been going there, I've yet to try one.


    Funny, I've been going there almost since the day they opened. Not only have I never ordered a beef there, I've never seen anybody else order one either. Of course I'll be honest, I didn't know they had one on the menu.
  • Post #747 - July 26th, 2016, 9:31 am
    Post #747 - July 26th, 2016, 9:31 am Post #747 - July 26th, 2016, 9:31 am
    Funny, I've been going there almost since the day they opened. Not only have I never ordered a beef there, I've never seen anybody else order one either. Of course I'll be honest, I didn't know they had one on the menu.


    Hello, I have had a beef from Poochies, but it was several years ago. It's pretty much your standard 5/10 foodservice beef sandwich with prepackaged ingredients you get from places that don't specialize in it. I pretty much stick with the char dogs and fries at Poochies.
  • Post #748 - July 26th, 2016, 5:43 pm
    Post #748 - July 26th, 2016, 5:43 pm Post #748 - July 26th, 2016, 5:43 pm
    I had a feeling Poochie's (like almost all hot dog joints that serve beef) didn't make their own. But Herm's does their own and like I said it's pretty good. I can't think of anything other than Portillo's in Skokie near there that does a decent one.
  • Post #749 - July 29th, 2016, 10:50 pm
    Post #749 - July 29th, 2016, 10:50 pm Post #749 - July 29th, 2016, 10:50 pm
    Thanks to Ram4 for mentioning Herm's IB.

    I've occasionally gotten an IB at Poochie's but never thought of Herm's for one. So...time for chow-science!

    Today I had an ib from Herm's followed by one at Poochie's. Both were ordered the same -- sweet, hot, dipped. As with the Beefathons of yore the idea is to let the stand interpret it the way they thought best.

    Both were well-dipped, but not to the extent of falling apart. The bread in both held up well. Both were reasonably lean with little or no fat or gristle.

    What struck me was how similar the flavor profiles were. The beef and juice were pleasantly mild. There were two notable differences.

    First, Herm's beef was, as Ram4 noted, cut more thickly. It wasn't terrible, but not as thin as I would like. Poochie's was nice and thin. There were a few crumbles but it mostly held up well.

    Second, Herm's giardinera was definitely hotter, whereas Poochie's was on the mild side. They were similar in style with carrots, red pepper, celery, and a bit of cauliflower. Herm's was especially generous with the giardinera.

    Both prepared the IB properly. Neither beef was tough -- an indication of sitting in the juice too long.

    I'd rate them at 6 to 7 out of 10. Both were satisfactory, but not exceptional. Certainly not at Johnnie's level and a bit below Portillo's.

    Either would do if you were in the area and Jonesing for an IB, but not a reason for a special trip. Of course, both places have plenty more on the menu which is usually the real reason for a Dempster Street journey.
    Where there’s smoke, there may be salmon.
  • Post #750 - August 1st, 2016, 8:22 pm
    Post #750 - August 1st, 2016, 8:22 pm Post #750 - August 1st, 2016, 8:22 pm
    Herm's Palace is always my first stop for a meal when in Chicago. Other good beef sandwiches within a mile of there are Hub's (a few blocks further west on Dempster) and Dengeo's (corner of Main and McCormick). Poochie's beef is sub-par.

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