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Food

Philly Cheese Steak on the Westside: Blasphemous? No, Delicious!

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By Lindsay Armstrong/Special to LAist

Online discussion, countless reviews, and adamant experts seem to only agree on two ingredients: Steak and bread (which sparks a totally new debate: what kind of bread and steak to use). Others argue that an “authentic” Philly doesn't exist--here.

You'll have to travel 3,000 miles for authentic Philly cheese steaks, unless you stumble across the Submariner.

Relying on word-of-mouth buzz, recession-friendly pricing, gigantic portions, and loyal neighborhood support, the Submariner has been largely overlooked in the great cheese steak debate, even though their Philly has earned street cred among plenty of Pennsylvania transplants.

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The Submariner's subs and burgers all share the distinct home-cooked taste that comes from years of using original recipes and refining customer favorites. Manager and owner Ki Choi still stays true to many of the original recipes from when the shop opened more than a half century ago. One of the first sandwiches, the Italian cold cut combo, is still available with the same dressing developed by the original owner, in 1957.

And although the Submariner has always featured homemade sandwiches and subs, Choi and his family added the Philly to the menu after Choi and his brother, Mike, bought the restaurant in 1991. Choi and his family like being able to not only share classic favorites like the BLT, but also some their personal favorites, like his mom's homemade teriyaki (that she makes from her own recipe).

Their Philly quickly became one of their most popular items--and despite a diverse and tempting menu, it's difficult to order anything else. They start with a French roll (crisply toasted on the outside, fresh and soft on the inside), pile on the tender grilled mushrooms and onions, sautéed bell peppers, and then add thinly sliced marinated steak--all topped with provolone cheese. You can go hoagie-style and add lettuce and tomato, but all of their cheese steaks are served with mayo. There's also the option to go pizza style with house red sauce available upon request. However, if you're craving pizza-style flavor, they have an excellent meatball sub. Also extremely popular are the fries, which are cooked until crispy and golden on the outside, moist on the inside and sprinkled with their signature seasoning salt. Make it a combo (1/2 or full Philly with a side of fries and a drink) - all for under $8.