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Big Red's Steaks

Update 1/15/13: Big Red's Steaks is closed.

In a word: Philly up.

The specs: #0425
Address, hours & details via Isthmus; chatter at TDPF; reviews at Isthmus, Yelp, Self Loathing Pop Culture Fanatic, Big Reds Steaks on Urbanspoon; official web site.

JM ate the BBQ chicken cheesesteak with a fountain drink.
Nichole ate the steak with a fountain drink.
The bill was $18, or $9/person, plus tip.
JM gave Big Red's Steaks an A-; Nichole gave Big Red's Steaks a B+ (see our grading rubric).

Latest Big Red's Steaks news and reviews

Big Red's is going for that "slice of home" feel for Philly transplants to the UW. They seem to be hitting the right buttons (Schmitter er, Schnepfer and a Tastykake, anyone?) but even an Osseo boy like JM has to admit that a lot of his money would have gotten eaten up at this place if there'd been one where he went to college. The sandwiches are reasonably priced at less than seventy cents per inch (OK, $6-8 per steak depending on your toppings) and when we went, they were offering a "recession special" of a steak and soda for $5 most weeknights.

The menu is small and focused, featuring just sandwiches and fries. They get kudos for the variety of peppers and toppings available at the condiment station, and for serving Coke Zero instead of Diet Coke for the extremely finicky.

BBQ chicken

JM's BBQ chicken sandwich of chopped chicken breast in mayo and sauce was humongous and not good for you by any stretch, but it was darned tasty. The mere density of the filling was enough to send less notable sandwiches running.

Philly cheesesteak

The classic steak plus onion, mushrooms, and peppers sans wiz was not as greasy as all those after-school episodes of Fresh Prince had led Nichole to believe. The meat was somewhat tough, but all things considered it was a good sandwich. The crab fries seasoned by Old Bay were tasty, too.

The service is extremely friendly - we even witnessed them assemble a sandwich with a very specific cut of meat for a customer with a special request. Friends have also tried it on our recommendation and report that they were also satisfied with its chessesteakiness. So give it a try, especially if you're in the know about authentic cheesesteaks, and let us know if Big Red's would fit in in Philly.


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I miss Caspian Cafe.
Big Red's is okay, but I have a friend from Philly who order a cheese wit' and the staff had no clue what that was.

I don't buy that, Tom, and even if it were true then, I'm pretty sure it was an anomaly. The sign inside Big Red's details the ordering process, and if I'm not mistaken, "Whiz wit" is listed right there on that sign.

Never been to Philadelphia, but I thought the steak I had was awesome.

I went there for lunch last week and I sadly have to say I wasn't that impressed. There were only 2 kinds of peppers to choose from on the pepper bar (both looked hotter than I wanted) - no other toppings. They made my sandwich, THEN cooked the fries. I ordered fried onions on my sandwich - I honestly couldn't tell they were there. And the sandwich itself? Well I was impressed that the steak wasn't overcooked or dry, but otherwise it didn't have a lot of flavor. My overall rating? Eh.

Average to sub average. Tried here twice and totally agree that the meat is unusually tough. The cheese fries are pretty good. Plus this place fills up with meatheads who make huge messes on the tables and don't clean them up.

I haven't been there yet, but the comments left here are at complete odds with the 5+ pages of rave reviews on the Daily Page forum (see link for the "chatter at TDPF" at the top of the review)

Yes, I was surprised at that!

"I have a friend from Philly who order a cheese wit' and the staff had no clue what that was."

That is a load of bull. I order a 'one whiz with, with peppers' every time I go there and they always know what I mean.

Blah, bunch a gooms. They don't make nutin wort eating.

Just a rip, fools the midwesterners though.

I agree the meat is tuf and the peppers are weak.

I continue to be a little bewildered by their insistence on getting even the green peppers from Philadelphia. Is there lore about the quality of peppers from PA? There better be, because they still don't have 'em.

I've never had a tough bite there.

I've enjoyed it all three times I've gone there.

Now, my family's from the OTHER side of PA, and I've only been to Philly a few times, so I'm not claiming to be an expert. But I found it pretty darned tasty.

Best of luck this summer.



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