A Review by Christina Maldonado
Nestled next to the JP Morgan & Chase building, during the bustling lunch hour, I found Phil’s Steaks food truck, an easy lunch choice for this complex city. Despite everyone trying to beat the heat, I received a warm welcome from Kevin McConnell, Phil’s Steaks Co-Owner, who let me know a bit about the background of Phil’s and how it came to be a truck that graces the New York City Streets.
I learned how this was the brain baby of a few friends over some beers, and done because it was too much of a good idea not to. The simple reason Phill’s started really honed in the overall vibe of the truck and the food itself. There’s nothing about Phil’s that doesn’t seem like a good idea. Although most of their customers were stuffed in suits, the Jawn offers a laid back, feel good sort of atmosphere. This was evident in how even the most stern-faced looking suit walked away with a wide grin, and a cheesesteak. Even the intimidating and looming buildings that surrounded the truck couldn’t mess with the easygoing nature of Phil’s.
I managed to just miss the lunch rush, call it good timing or pure luck, so as I approached the truck I was immediately greeted. We chatted briefly, and Kevin’s passion for food, specifically the cheesesteaks he’s shelling out, convinced me that I was in good hands. He helped me dive right in with the Shroom Steak. Being totally honest, Phil’s steaks aren’t the most glamorous sandwiches known to mankind, but what they lack in looks, they make up for in taste.
Phil’s priority is giving their customers authentic Philly Cheesesteaks, and while I might not be an expert, if Phil’s is an example of a cheesesteak done right, I need to get to Philadelphia this second. The mushrooms were huge and cooked to perfection, really emphasizing the juiciness of the steak itself. And can we take a moment to appreciate juicy steak from a food truck, instead of the dried out meats that I have frequently run into. While I was confused as to where the cheese was (Kevin is a self proclaimed cheesy kind of guy) I was surprised to have it under all the meat, the placement making not only the meat a cheesy delight, but the bread as well.
Let’s take a minute to really talk about this bread, because it’s probably the most important thing to me in this food truck experience. Usually breads on food truck sandwiches tend to be too hard but not only were their authentic Philly Amoroso rolls soft, they were the type of rolls you stuff your face with five of by themselves. Imagine that greatness, filled with cheese and steak. I was swooning. Unfortunately the greatness of the sandwich led the fries to pale in comparison, but I have a feeling that the “Route 11” potato chips that they offer would have been a better companion for my sandwich. Lesson learned for next time.
Although I typically pride myself on my gluttonous tendencies, I could only handle one sandwich, and that was only after a half 6” serving. Next time I’ll have to prepare to take down the Whiz Steak, a popular menu item that brags about the amount of cheese whiz it brings to the table, as it seems that I’m missing out on a great Philly Cheesesteak staple by not indulging in the canned goodness.
Ultimately, Phil’s Steaks aims to give you a simple cheesesteak that also happens to be one of the best things you’ve ever put in your mouth, and I believe that they succeed. With menu options that appeal to a variety of taste buds (they even offer the vegetarian option Wilson sandwich), and prices that lean more to the reasonable side where city lunch is involved (I’d go with the full 10” for more bang for my buck), I don’t see why this food truck isn’t the lunch option for everyone on Park Ave.
You can find Phil’s truck all over midtown, especially with the use of their handy “Find Phil” link on their website. You might also run into them at festivals and parties, as they cater events as well.