Shorty’s Cheese Steaks: Creating Philly Perfection Even by Delivery

Date April 29, 2008

New Yorkers rejoice, Shorty’s has answered your cheese steak prayers. Midtown’s version of “wiz wit”, a cheese steak with cheese whiz and fried onions, is the truest version of the Philadelphia classic NYC Food Guy has encountered thus far. I’m yet to try 99 miles to philly or Wogie’s, but until then I’m ready to hand Shorty’s the crown for the best cheese steak and some of the crispiest fries I’ve had in this city.

I’m confident in that statement because I’ve never even eaten Shorty’s in-store, I’ve only had it delivered from their 9th Avenue and 42nd St. location to my office on 6th Avenue and 51st St.. With at least 30 separate orders to my office over the past few months, the three avenue, 9 block trek hasn’t yielded one unsatisfied eater. If that’s not a true barometer for success, what is?  Read on to find out why Shorty’s is so delicious.

I’ve only had two Shorty’s sandwiches: The Classic Cheese Steak ($7.99), “wiz wit” style, and the Roast Pork Special ($9.50). The cheese steak (below) was awesome. An abundance of moist, thinly sliced sirloin mixed with sweet, flavorful fried onion, swimming in a perfectly portioned schmear of cheese whiz. The bread was the only weak point, slightly crisp, but nowhere near the point of cracking.

Shorty’s used to be a franchise of the Philly legend Tony Luke’s, but franchise fees are fruitless once you have a following, and that’s how Shorty’s was born. Unfortunately, this may have led to the death of their heralded Roast Pork Special (thinly sliced, seasoned pork in a spicy au jus, Broccoli rabe, and sharp provolone) which was a flavorless grease bomb. I strongly recommend you avoid it.

My co-workers have had everything from the Pizza Steak ($8.50) with pepperoni (+$1.50) to the Buffalo Chicken Steak ($7.99) and the Chicken Steak Club ($8.99, below).

Everyone’s been overly pleased with their order and a debt of that gratitude goes to the fries. Somehow these fries ($3.00) continuously survive the delivery and reach us crisp and piping hot. I’ve honestly never encountered such consistently amazing delivery fries. Forget the Italian fries ($4.00, below), mixed with Italian seasoning and Romano cheese and the Mozzarella triangles ($4.99, below), the latter of which are the only thing that failed the delivery. Whether you’re a cheese steak lover or a novice, you can feel comfortable knowing that Shorty’s will provide you with the genuine article.

Shorty’s 576 9th Ave. b/t 41st & 42nd St. (212) 967-3055 (Menu)

48 Responses to “Shorty’s Cheese Steaks: Creating Philly Perfection Even by Delivery”

  1. Vince said:

    I need to stop coming to this site before I have eaten. I end up frustrated with dining options I have locally.
    Sandwiches are my true lord and master and those look fantastic.

  2. Ruth said:

    The sandwiches are amazing I love the chicken with brocoli rabe and sharp provolone. I love the fries they are so good

  3. betazen said:

    I need to stop coming to this site because it is going to make me fat.

    I just had a Philly Slim’s cheese steak the other day and it was not great at all. And now I hear this!

  4. Ulla said:

    That cheese steak looks great.
    I do not think I could eat the fries too, but goodness the sandwich looks amazing.
    To bad the roast pork was too greasy, sounds like an Italian version of the the Cuban sandwich. Do you now of a place that DOES have a good Italian style roast pork sandwich?

  5. James said:

    Those actually look pretty crappy, incomparable to the great Pat’s Steak and Cheese. And the fries, they may be crispy but that doesn’t mean they’re good. They look like your typical battered frozen fries dropped into the fry-o-later for an extra minute or two.

    How can you “be ready to hand Shorty’s the crown” if their bread is not soft and delicious. Crispy bread means stale bread. This is terrible.

  6. agreement said:

    I’m going to have to agree with James on this. the cheesesteak doesnt even look good, and the fries look typical.

    you’re way to quick to “hand out crowns” nycfg — just because u eat something and its good by no means makes it the “best in new york city.” get a grip

  7. Ulla Oop said:

    Ulla – how do you expect to gain any credibility in the blogosphere writing things like, “Do you now of a place…”

  8. The NYC Food Guy said:

    Vince,

    You said it man. This was an awesome sandwich.

    Ruth,

    Glad to hear someone who knows what they’re talking about agrees with me. I’m so tired of people like James and agreement who probably haven’t even eaten Shorty’s and they think they know what’s up.

    Betazen,

    I’m with you 100%, Philly Slim’s is weak and it dies in the delivery process. Let me know what you think of Shorty’s.

    Ulla,

    I’ve heard that Faicco’s in the West Village has an awesome and really big roast pork sandwich. There’s a place in the Bronx called Mike’s Deli, it’s in Arthur Avenue Market, they supposedly have amazing roast pork as well.

    James,

    Have you had Shorty’s? I ate it at around 7pm and I’ve had friends eat it at noon. The early afternoon eaters confirmed that the bread was totally soft and delicious. I credit the crispier bread I received to a roll that wasn’t morning fresh. As far as the fries go, so what if they’re just regular coated fries thrown in the fry-o-lator a little longer. Does that not make them delicious? Most French Fries in this world are just that and most fries don’t stay in the fry-o-lator long enough, Shorty’s are on point everytime.

    Agreement,

    What do you know? You’ve never eaten here and I’ll go as far as saying you probably haven’t had more than one cheesteak in this city. I’ve eaten at 5 different places at the minimum. I don’t make claims to hear myself speak. Why don’t you step up and stand behind some recommendations instead of just hating.

    Ulla Oop,

    You’re not beautiful and from Iceland like the real Ulla. Cut the girl some slack.

  9. James said:

    It doesn’t matter if I’ve eaten at shorty’s or not. You can’t honestly give the place the crown if their quality is inconsistent. Fresh bread all day long might be worthy, but if it gets stale by dinner time they are the big loser.

    As for the fries, I’ve been to dozens of restaurants in NYC and their fries are never typical and never Burger King-esque. Those fries look like crap, if they are crispy and you like them, great, but they are far from good fresh cut real potato french fries.

  10. The NYC Food Guy said:

    James,

    I appreciate the quick response and the honesty. Inconsistency has never been a problem for Shorty’s, if anything its amazing how consistent they’ve been. After I hit 99 miles to Philly and Wogie’s I’ll let you know if their bread was any better. Regardless, any place that consistently DELIVERS hot and delicious food is tops in my book.

    And while I respect your opinion on the fries did I ever compare them to fresh cut potato? Did I even say they were the best? I just said they’re amazingly crispy, that rates them high in my book. It’s as simple as that. I agree, they are far from good fresh cut fries. They are real fries, they’re not fake potato, they’re just not fresh cut. I’d take Houston’s fries over these anyday but I know Houston’s wouldn’t stand the test of delivery. Regardless, these are some damn good fries.

    What’s your top cheesesteak and fries in the city?

  11. "amazingly crispy" said:

    are you serious?

  12. Faulty Foodguy said:

    NYCFG—why can’t you ever admit that maybe you’re not always on point? why do you have to attack your readers because they point out inconsistencies in your reviews? I don’t think this is good practice.

  13. The NYC Food Guy said:

    Faulty,

    Why don’t you step up and make some food claims instead of just batting down mine?

  14. KAG said:

    You know the saying, don’t judge a book by its cover. In this case looks are deceiving. The fries were awesome! Best I’ve had in a long time.

  15. Ulla said:

    ::blushes::
    thanks for the compliments.
    I have dyslexia too but it does not stop me from expressing myself:)
    thanks for the advice!:)
    I love roast pork sandwiches!

  16. The NYC Food Guy said:

    KAG-

    You said it, you can’t judge food by a photo. Glad to hear you enjoyed the fries.

    Ulla,

    I speak the truth, you’re more than welcome. Let me know if you find any great sandwiches anytime soon or if you try those pork sandwiches I recommended.

  17. "amazingly crispy" said:

    why don’t you respond to my comments nycfg???

  18. Succulent Steven said:

    how can you be touting these fries nycfg — they look so plain and typical, and certainly don’t seem like something that should be receiving accolades

  19. The NYC Food Guy said:

    Amazingly Crispy & Succulent Steven,

    What do you want me to say? Have you eaten these fries? From the sound of it the answer is no. Try them and then you can talk.

  20. betazen said:

    Went today and had the steak sandwich (light on the whiz!) with fries. The sandwich was damn good. I’ve never had a philly so I can’t give it props for that. The bread had a decent crunch to it even though I understand a “real” cheese steak is supposed to be soft. I think I much prefer a little crunch, keeps the sandwich in place especially after traveling on the E train for a bit.
    Fries were crispy and a nice addition. The best fries ever? No, but I enjoyed them.

    Thanks NYC Food Guy!

  21. The NYC Food Guy said:

    Betazen,

    YES! That’s what I like to hear. Nice move. So you picked it up and ate it at home? What time of the day was it? We’re gonna have to try some other NYC Philly Cheese Steaks and compare. I’ve had a few: Carl’s, 99 miles to philly take out once, and Philly Slims each of which was good but not memorable like Shorty’s. And the fries, like I said, solid. Nice work. What’s next on the list?

  22. betazen said:

    Took it to work at Lexington Ave. I barely have time to even pick this stuff up but I’m always able to schedule a good pick.

    I have yet to try Carl’s or 99 Miles so I may venture there soon.

  23. betazen said:

    Also, went about 2 in the afternoon. As for the bread being stale and that being the result of the crunchiness, no. That’s just the way the bread is. There is such a thing as fresh baked crunchy bread after all.

  24. dave said:

    awesome review NYCFG. I went over there myself and really enjoyed this cheesesteak. I have had them all over philly too, since I went to school there and you are absolutely right. This certainly does compete.

  25. filthadelphia said:

    when i think of cheesesteaks, i think of philly, and i hate philly. so i hate cheesesteaks. i’m going to go kill myself right now nycfg, thanks for making me feel like this.

    ps. it’s really my last meal….ziggiz???

  26. The NYC Food Guy said:

    filthadelphia,

    don’t kill yourself because of cheese steaks. it’s not worth it. I don’t recommend ziggiz as your LAST meal… go to Peter Luger’s and do it right…

  27. Midtown Lunch » Midtown Links (The Out of Bounds Cheesesteak, Fried Chicken & Mutton Edition) said:

    [...] The out of bounds and formerly known as Tony Luke’s- Shorty’s makes the best cheesesteak… [NYC Food Guy] [...]

  28. Ruth said:

    Carls is to greesy for my liking and 99 miles was just mediocre when I tried it. I have picked up from both of these places.

  29. Howfresh said:

    Never tried Shorty’s but might need to give it a shot. Have had Carl’s several times and thought they were decent. Honestly, when I get that cheesesteak jones I rather hop in the car and take the 1.5 to 2 hour drive to the city of brotherly love. Hit me up and I’ll hit you with the mean Philly itinerary- and I don’t mean Gino’s or Pat’s.

  30. Fat guy who knows fries said:

    The italian fries at Shorty’s would be competitive as the best fries in the city. Don’t knock them until you’ve tried them.

    For cheesesteaks, I think that Shorty’s wins over all of the other cheesesteak places known to be above average in the city (99 miles, carls, etc.). I’ve been there a dozen times or so, and never had a bad sandwich.

  31. The NYC Food Guy said:

    Ruth,

    Good to know about Carls and 99 miles. I only had Carls after a night of drinking and I’m yet to try 99. It should be interesting to see what the real deal is.

    How Fresh,

    I love your ferocity Howie. You’re an animal if you’re driving to Philly just to satisfy a cheese steak craving. I like it though, a man after my own taste. What’s on your list of spots not Pat’s or Gino’s?

    Fat Guy,

    Why do you like the Italian fries? I didn’t think they were bad per se, I just didn’t think they were anything special, not worth another dollar for a little sprinkle of parmesan. If there was a more robust flavor factor with the Italian Fries, I’d be all about them.

    I’m glad to hear what I already knew: Shorty’s doesn’t disappoint. Have you eaten at all the other places? What’s your number 1 sandwich at Shorty’s?

  32. Dan said:

    I read the food guys recomendation on shorty’s. After i got shorties i would have agree, it was pretty good. My co-workers said they liked philly slims, so i tried them too. Shorties fries are better even though they do have a coating, philly slims were just greasy and tastless. As far as the cheezesteak, bread was good, steak wasn’t greasy and onions had flavor.

    To the guy comparing shorty’s to philly’s pats or geno’s, its a cheesesteak; i’ll bet it tastes the same.

  33. Pune Cuisines said:

    I just don’t know what to say… It all looks so incredibly yummy!!!

  34. el cabong said:

    I have been to Shorty’s. It is an average steak. The fries are ok, but Shorty’s is way overpriced for what they give you (even if it is Manhattan). If you are in the mood for a cheesesteak and you are on 9th avenue then by all means check it out, but don’t make a trip there just for a Shorty’s cheesesteak. Especially if you have eaten a good Philly steak before (Dalessandro’s, Ishkabibbles, or Jim’s Steaks).

  35. ferdmania said:

    I love how people can surreptitiously dismiss a sandwich as “average” or “not good” without saying why. I’m from the Philly area, and I’ve ha plenty of cheesesteaks. Shorty’s is the best NYC has to offer. It is every bit as good as, if not better than, Jim’s or Ishkabibbles, and considering that it has the same ingredients, it’s just as good as Tony Luke’s. I’d actually give Shorty’s a leg up over TL’s because they offer some other items you won’t find on Oregon Ave. Heresy to offer a pizza steak or Buffalo chicken steak? Yawn. It’s about making food that makes people happy, not living by some idiotic unwritten code for goombas from the suburbs of Philly.

    Anyone who is knocking it against the steaks from Philly is surely applying a liberal dose of nostalgia in their comparison. And if you seriously hold up either Pat’s or Geno’s as a model of cheesesteak excellence, your opinion is automatically disqualified because you are obviously a tourist or a tool from South Jersey who doesn’t realize he is a tourist.

    Does Shorty’s cheesesteak match that of John’s Roast Pork in South Philly? No. No one does, but Shorty’s is damn good, and I’m glad it’s here in NYC.

  36. ferdmania said:

    One more thing. I don’t understand the dissing of the Roast Pork Special, formerly the better-named Roast Pork Italian. Yeah, it’s heartburn in a foil wrapper, but when you go for the sharp provolone with, it’s bursting with flavor.

  37. The NYC Food Guy said:

    Ferdmania,

    Thanks for stopping by. You said it man. Its a serious cheesteak. There was an article recently done by a graphic designer in NYC, he took 17 friends and they ate at ALL the NYC cheesteak spots and ended up giving Wogie’s the highest mark. Guess I’m going to have to try that next in addition to 99 miles to Philly.

    So which is your top cheesteak overall? In regard to the Roast Pork Italian, I think it’d be best as an eat-in sandwich only. The problem with delivery was that the bread was so grease soaked.

  38. Before Sunrise said:

    I have never had a Philly cheese steak… One more thing to look forward to!!

  39. philly cheeseman said:

    i’m the philly cheeseman you’ll love my steaks at the corner of pillotty ave and main st…save $5 if you mention nycfoodguy

  40. Dr. Dyspepsia said:

    Just back from a week in Philly. Must have had six cheese steaks, none great, but then, didn’t go to the right places. Fortunately, I am still alive to talk about it. Also, glad the World Series is FINALLY over.

  41. Dr. Dyspepsia said:

    Ferdmania: opinion on the cheese? I think provolone far superior to the tolerable, but abominable Cheese-Whiz.

  42. Levi said:

    I agree wholeheartedly – Shorty’s is simply awesome and a perfect place to unwind. This place is a BAR also, and is open late, and so is their kitchen. I had a 1 am cheeseteak there and it was amazing.

    I love how people who haven’t eaten their declare it sucks from a photo. Umm…it’s a CHEESESTEAK they aren’t pretty. Certainly those ones at Geno’s or Pats aren’t any better looking.

    I’ve had Geno’s and Shorty’s is better, no joke.

  43. The NYC Food Guy said:

    Levi,

    I’m glad to see a well informed comment on Shorty’s. I haven’t been there to experience the bar and late night action but it sounds pretty quality. Do you know how late they’re open on weekdays and weekends?

  44. NYC Cheese Steaks: 99 Miles to Philly is Far From Great « NYC Food Guy said:

    [...] best.  And if something deserves that title, NYC Food Guy is going to find it.  Back in April, I called Shorty’s cheese steak the best I’ve had in NYC, and other than a few delivery mishaps, they haven’t disappointed.  Several readers, [...]

  45. Bill said:

    I’ve been mixed over Shorty’s for some time as I thought it (and especially the Roast Pork sandwich)) were just fantastic when it used to be Tony’s Luke’s. I worried that the focus would shift when they closed to renovate from just a sandwich shop into the bar they are now. I went once after and it was still just as good. But two subsequent trips after that proved the meat to be somewhat tough and a bit dry-ish.

    I last went a couple of times in June after performing in a show around the corner and the pork and cheesesteak were once again pretty good. I am a big fan of the “shorty” concept. That way I can sample two sandwiches without actually having to commit to buying two full ones.

    I was working around the corner once again a few weeks back and stopped by. It looks like they’ve renovated once again and expanded the bar. Unfortunately, it also looks like they’ve raised the prices once again too. When I first started going there, the cheesesteak was $6.25, then $7.99 after the renovation, now it is $9.00 according to their website. The shorty is now $6.00, almost the same price as a whole when they first started. Most of their sandwiches are above the $10 mark and the Roast Pork sandwiches now are only served in “shorty (6 inch) versions and the Roast Pork and cheese is $9 and the Roast Pork Special (provie and broccoli rabe) tops out at $10!

    Some of these prices have almost doubled and probably more so since they first opened as Tony Lukes a few year back. I like Shorty’s, but not enough to pay $10 for a half sandwich. They used to have really great thick cut pickles and hot peppers you could take for free from these big bins out front, now the pickles are gone and they charge for the peppers. I’m not sure, but I think they’ve cut back slightly on the amount of meat in the sandwiches too. Oh, how I miss the old days when all they did was make slammin’ good sandwiches!!

  46. The NYC Food Guy said:

    Bill,
    You said it man, it’s a shame the way prices have soared up at a lot of the formerly cheap places we loved. I can’t justify spending $6.00 on half a sandwich, I don’t know who could. That just means that all those people who were saying “go big or go home” knew what they were talking about. It never hurts to have leftovers.

  47. Meguiar said:

    Shorty’s has a fantastic happy hour, especially as they have several high quality craft beers. Every day from 4pm-7pm, Sunday & Monday 10pm-midnight & Tues-Sat 11pm-2am you get a pint and a shorty cheesesteak for $8. I had this special last weekend and am already jonesing for a return trip.

  48. Yankees x 1000000000 said:

    I hate my life !!! I am a New Yorker exiled to NC. Help !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I would kill for a crumb of a simple NY bagel.

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