NYC Cheese Steaks: Wogie’s Doesn’t Take the Crown, But There’s Many Reasons to Return

Date January 15, 2009

The hunt for NYC’s best cheese steak continues! After eating Wogie’s version, I can’t award them the cheese steak crown, but everything was tasty and their menu is a grease lover’s dream.  Lil NYC Food Guy and I teamed with our cousin Doug to indulge in three different sandwiches, read on to find out which really impressed and what I’ll be ordering upon my next visit…

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The Cheese Steak ($7.50)

I’ve discovered that the key to a perfect cheese steak is balance.  Balance in construction results in a balance of flavor offering us a taste of every ingredient in each bite.  The “Whiz-Wit” policy (cheese whiz and onions on each sandwich) has been the equalizer through my cheese steak hunt but it was an overabundance of Whiz that hurt Wogie’s.  There’s Whiz below and above the steak and despite the fact that the sturdy, yet airy bread can withstand grease-bombage of this caliber, all you can taste amidst the bits of juicy steak, crisp onion and bits of green pepper is the Whiz.  If I still want to eat cheese steaks after finally crowning a winner, I’m switching to provolone or American cheese.

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Adrian’s Atomic Avalanche ($7.75)

Steak, American Cheese, Pepperoni, Hot Peppers, Fried Mozzarella Balls, Topped with Marinara

Anything with fried mozzarella balls is automatically worthy of eating.  Unfortunately, they didn’t play much of a role in this sandwich.  There were faint hints of pepperoni and chopped jalapeno pepper throughout most bites, but the overwhelming flavor was the bright and garlicky Marinara sauce.  Everything else, including the steak, took a back seat resulting in a lackluster combination of ingredients.  If you’re still as turned on by this sandwich as I initially was, order the Marinara on the side and add some as necessary.

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The Pookie ($7.25) – Our Favorite Sandwich

Buffalo Chicken Fingers, Melted Provolone, on a Hero with Choice of Dipping Sauce

This was the best sandwich of the day proving that simple food prepared well is always delicious.  A hearty serving of meaty, peppery and perfectly fried chicken fingers are chopped and covered in just the right amount of tangy Buffalo sauce before mildly sharp provolone is melted on top to balance the spice.  The bread deserves credit for striking a balance between a sturdy exterior and airy insides, the perfect ratio of give and take for sandwiches of this design.  We were never offered a choice of dipping sauce but I wouldn’t bother with the harmony of The Pookie.

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Waffle Fries ($4.75)

or Regular $3.75. Add Cheese, Chili, or Gravy: 75¢ each

A key component of any grease-filled meal is good French fries.  Wogie’s offers some perfectly fried seasoned waffle fries.  Although they’re the standard frozen version, they were crispy on the outside while still offering potato on the inside.  I spied an order of regular fries on another table, they looked tasty and thin and there were a lot more in an order than the waffle fries.

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Reasons to return

Wogie’s is the kind of place you wish every neighborhood had.  It’s a friendly, no frills restaurant with good music, a welcoming bar and food devoid of pretension.  Below is a list of some enticing menu items my heart begged me to hold off on until my next visit:

  • Kate’s Krazy Buffalo Wings – I’ll admit, we tried a small order but I’m waiting until a return visit to review them on my quest to find NYC’s Best Buffalo Wings
  • The Oscar – Eggs, Bacon, Steak, Choice of Cheese, Peppers, & Onions. This was recommended by one of the restaurant’s waiters. How can you really go wrong?
  • Fat Jimmy – Steak, American Cheese, Hot Peppers, Regular French Fries, Topped with Chili. After seeing how the Marinara affected Adrian’s Atomic Avalanche, I worry about the chili.  But fries in the sandwich? I’m sold.
  • Cheeseburger Hoagie – Steak, Cheddar Cheese, Bacon, Lettuce, Tomato, with a Chopped Pickle Sauce. I’m told the chopped pickles sauce is delicious and this sandwich sounds pretty similar to my standard G3 hero at Lenny’s.  I’d be curious to see how they compare. Something tells me Wogie’s would win that challenge but I’m looking forward to finding out.

1wogiesWogie’s

39 Greenwich Ave. at Charles St.
New York, NY 10014
212-229-2171
212-229-2108
Kitchen Hours: Sun. – Thurs. until 2am, Fri. & Sat. until 3am
Photo Courtesy: Mike Rogers at NYMag.com

30 Responses to “NYC Cheese Steaks: Wogie’s Doesn’t Take the Crown, But There’s Many Reasons to Return”

  1. Too Early said:

    It’s too early to be looking at cheese steaks…

    You should try Carl’s, it’s also good when you’re sober

  2. Ulla said:

    Holly Heck! That looks good. The cheese whiz looks intense. The buffalo chicken sandwich looks brilliant. I will have to check this place out!

  3. Tasty trekker said:

    I used to go to wogies about 2-3 times a month for their awesome buffalo wings and garlic wings. They are fantastic! Somehow I forgot about this place but now you have given me reason to go back! The last dub is what we in buffalo call a chicken finger sub! Chicken fingers dipped in hit sauce covered with melted provolone cheese on a sub… However you need to add lettuce, tomatoes and smothered in blue cheese! Yum!!!

  4. Tasty trekker said:

    I used to go to wogies about 2-3 times a month for their awesome buffalo wings and garlic wings. They are fantastic! Somehow I forgot about this place but now you have given me reason to go back! The last dub is what we in buffalo call a chicken finger sub! Chicken fingers dipped in hit sauce covered with melted provolone cheese on a sub… However you need to add lettuce, tomatoes and smothered in blue cheese! Yum!!! Here’s a picture. Nyctastes.blogspot.com/2007/12/why-doesnt-NYC-make-chicken-fingers-HTML

    Here

    Here a pic

    So happy to here there is a version here!

  5. Eric said:

    NYCFoodguy –

    Longtime reader but first time commenter: So I’ve tried a number of your recommendations and like any advisor relationship, trust is only gained through success. That being said, I fully trust your palate and think your reviews are spot on for the places I have tried.

    In reference to your cheesesteak search, I have tried your recommendation about Shorty’s. I thought it was better than Carl’s but how does it stack up against Wogies? Shorty’s has a very flavorful combination of caramelized onions with juicy beef and they don’t skimp on the portions. The airy and fresh baked bread soaked up all the juices and was able to handle the barrage of flavor to make it through the last bite without falling apart. I think it’s worth the $10 price tag.

    Unfortunately, I can’t say the same about Carl’s. The Wiz-Wit version I had skimped on the meat and there was barely any Wiz on the sandwich. I found the sandwich dry and the flavor and juice of the meat were not present in my sandwich.

    I think the critical issue is whether or not they make your sandwich to order. “The stack” of meat they use at Carl’s versus the made to order process of placing raw beef on a clean grill at Shorty’s made the difference to me. Flavors were cleaner and juice factor was increased tremendously.

    I’m curious to the process at Wogies. Do they do the stack or is the meat cooked to order?

    Thanks for all the good work and I look forward to reading more of your reviews.

  6. Phil said:

    Has anyone tried 99 miles to philly? These cheesesteaks look mouth-watering good NYCFG.

  7. Chris said:

    Can you define “fried mozzarella ball”? It’s not clear in the picture? We’re not talking about fist-sized balls for fresh mozzarella, are we?

  8. Phil said:

    fist-sized?? WOW.

  9. Stephanie said:

    Hi NYC Food Guy 😛

    For starters, I wanna say I LOVE the site. The pics are amazing hehe.

    But my main question izzzzzzzzz…can the food guy cook? Or is he just take out/dine out kind of guy? I’m sure i’m not the only girl on this site that’s interested 😉

  10. stevenp said:

    Hey NYCFG! Don’t forget to ping me when you decide to do the next phase of the Great Wing Hunt. I e-mailed you directly back when but never heard back. (It’s not personal, is it?)

  11. Before Sunrise said:

    Good to see you back at it food guy! 🙂

    These sandwiches don’t look too appealing to me, is it my impression or do they have very little filling in them? They seem anemic to me.

    Surprisingly the most appealing to me were the waffle fries…

    Hope you find a worthy cheese steak somewhere.

  12. BBQ said:

    Someone actually pays over $7.00 to eat a sandwich covered with Cheez Wiz? How good can we expect neon orange cheese from a jar served over grey meat to be? If I were The Food Guy, I’d put an end to this quest pretty quickly and move on to something potentially edible instead….

  13. The NYC Food Guy said:

    Too Early,
    Carl’s is actually next on my list. Any recommendations?

    Ulla,
    Long time no speak. Great to hear from you. Look forward to hearing your thoughts if you make it to Wogie’s.

    Tasty trekker,
    The link you gave us didn’t work but I’m glad to hear your as enthusiastic about the buffalo chicken finger hero as I am. Are the garlic wings the best at Wogie’s?

    Eric,

    Thanks for the kind words dude. I really appreciate it. It’s great to hear from someone who enjoys my reviews, definitely helps keep me going, so thanks. I’m glad you finally decided to comment, we could use more constructive commenting like the one you left here today. Shorty’s really does have some quality onions. The only thing about Shorty’s and me is that I’ve only had their sandwich by delivery. That being said, it’s always hit the spot and that’s a great sign of suceess. I’ll try to get over to Shorty’s one of these days and see if they cook the steak fresh for each sandwich. If you get there first, let me know. Keep an eye out for Carl’s.

    Phil,
    I tried 99 miles to Philly last month and was vastly disappointed. It was overly greasy, sloppy and the whiz was very unevenly distributed. Here’s the link.

    Chris,

    I’ll define the size of the fried mozzarella balls in candy terms. They’re about the size of a whopper, definitely a lot smaller than a golf ball, but a lot bigger than a raisinet.

    Stephanie,
    Hello Steph. Thanks for stopping by. What do you know that I don’t? I didn’t realize there was an adoring female public out there for the Food Guy. Whether there is or not, I love to cook but my day job doesn’t really provide me the time for it. I have a stockpile of Food Network shows on my DVR with recipes to take note of. What do you like to cook? If you wanted to impress me, what would you cook for me?

    stevenp,
    Hey steven, sorry I didn’t get back to you about the wing tour email. I definitely remember hearing from you but I realize now I never got to respond. I apologize but definitely didn’t forget about you. Any good meals lately?

    Before Sunrise,
    There she is. Its been a while. How have you been Sunrise? The sandwiches were more packed than they seemed and the fries were very good. I hope I find a good cheese steak soon too.

    BBQ,
    I think you may be on to something. Any recommendations on where to direct my efforts?

  14. gilda macdonald said:

    Lawrence my friend, a road trip is in order here. I see you appreciate the cheesesteak as we do in my family. Please , please, please take a quick drive to Philly . Have a taste test lunch at Pat’s and Geno’s. Right across the street from each other in south Philly. Pat’s invented the sandwich, but Genos perfected it if you ask me. I like provolone and onions but wiz is fine too!

  15. Before Sunrise said:

    I’ve been great, Food Guy, busy preparing for my board exams… ARGH!! 🙂

    I am looking forward to the reviews on Adrienne’s pizza and that banana waffle… Hoping they are as good as the pictures!

  16. bitpom666 said:

    WOGIES RULES!! Salt and Pepper wings BUT not the best cheese steak in the city. That would be Carl’s.

    http://burgerconquest.blogspot.com/2008/12/wing-off-7.html

  17. Tasty trekker said:

    I’ll see if this link works- sorry that was the first time I’ve written a response on my iphone. I really suck at it !

    http://nyctastes.blogspot.com/2007/12/why-doesnt-nyc-make-chicken-fingers.html

    I have to say Wogies wings are up there in my list of the best wing places in the city. They are quite big, crispy and have various flavors. The garlic are pretty awesome because they don’t have anything like those in NYC. The Hot are pretty amazing as well. I highy suggest you check them out. I think they should be known for their wings over their cheesesteaks.

  18. Eric said:

    NYCFoodguy – Shorty’s definitely makes their meat to order.

    When I stopped by there a week ago (I work 2 blocks away and had to stay late on Saturday), I ordered my sandwich from the cute girl in the takeout window and watched my sandwich get made. The guy at the grill put two pre-portioned slabs of thin sliced beef (I hear the standard in the cheesesteak world is select-ribeye) and pre-cooked onions in separate piles on the clean grill.

    After 2 minutes he added a liquid, I assume water, flipped the meat and combined the meat and onions. I assume at that point, he would add the provolone on top to melt but I ordered Wiz and it was applied to the bun and on top after the meat was on the sandwich. Referencing your comment above, cheese to meat ratio is important in order to maintain balance. The sandwich was juicy, the onion flavor was excellent, there was enough wiz and the bun stood up to all the juices coming from the meat.

    The night before, I shared a Wiz-Wit at Carl’s with a friend. Fortunately, the grill is in plain sight and you’re able to see the whole prep from start to finish. While my friend was sitting down, I observed the process of making a Carl’s Cheesesteak. There is a pile of already cooked meat on the right hand side of the grill. When an order is put in, around 4 to 6oz of beef is taken and placed in the middle of the grill. The grill was covered in dark residue from previous orders. Water was added and it was combined with precooked onions. After slicing bread in half and adding a smear of wiz on both sides, the meat and onion mixture is placed on the bun.

    Carl’s Steak was small on the meat portion, did not have much wiz and there was no juice from the meat. After trying both Shorty’s and Carl’s, I prefer Shorty’s. Though Carl’s is a decent product, I like the nice service and superior sandwich of Shorty’s. Plus they have excellent fries and I believe Carl’s doesn’t have a fryer.

  19. stevenp said:

    Shorty’s is better on-site than delivered, in my experience. Eric described it much better! Can I sign up for the trip to Shorty’s? It’s right by Rudy’s for pre- and/or post-cheesesteak beers, as an option. (Pitchers of Rudy’s red/blonde, cans of porkslap–beers are on me!) (Yes, I’m kind of eager to venture out on a tasting trip!)

    Haven’t had anything great lately (been cooking some really good stuff at home though, like chocolate waffles, fried eggs and polenta with sriracha, egg-kielbasa-cheese burritos….) The Pookie looks damn good, though–I might have to head to Wogie’s soon.

  20. stevenp said:

    Had a Wogie’s fail today. Was out walking and hungry, and wanted a spicy chicken finger sub, so I wandered over to Greenwich Ave around 1 pm. From across the street I saw a sign on the door saying “FULL.” Wtf? On closer inspection, the sign told people to go to a bar across the street. Then it slowly dawned on me–Wogies, cheesesteaks, Philly, Eagles playoff game in a couple of hours. Ah well. Another time. The Eagles are getting creamed anyway. Had a tasty beef short rib brunch with AYCD half a block up at Bonelick Park.

  21. The NYC Food Guy said:

    gilda macdonald,
    Gilda, great to hear from you its been a while. I’ve actually had Pat’s once before although it was years before NYC Food Guy took form. I remember it being delicious but since I wasn’t on a mission I went to Lorenzo’s for pizza instead of another cheese steak at Gino’s. I’m definitely down with the provolone move, I once had a Pats brought to me with peppers onions and provolone. It was even great reheated the next day.

    Either way, I’d love to do a Philly Cheese Steak Tour hitting Steve’s and Jim’s and any other places that you or anyone else recommends.

    Any suggestions for cheese steaks in Philly other than the ones I just listed?

    Before Sunrise,

    Hope the exams go well. After hearing about meridians from you, I have a feeling you’ll do great. I’m glad to hear you’re looking forward to the future reviews. Keep an eye out, they won’t disappoint.

    bitpom666,
    I’ve heard great things about carl’s bitpom, it’s definitely next on the list. I’ve also heard about the Salt and Pepper wings from, you guessed it, BurgerConquest. I’m going to have to do another run of Wogie’s and get more sandwiches and the salt and pepper wings. You want in? Where else are wings that you’d hold up to the Wogie’s light?

    Tasty trekker,
    The link worked, great shots, definitely a sandwich I would enjoy. I bet its even better fresh out of the oven. It’s funny you say that about Wogie’s wings though, after eating there I’d have to agree I’d sooner go back for wings than one of the sandwiches. It also may be overkill to get a Pookie sandwich and wings, although I wouldn’t complain. Have you tried the Salt and Pepper wings at Wogie’s? Check out the link that bitpom66 posted, they have a little shot of the salt and peppers which they call the best of Wogie’s wings.

    Eric,
    Cheese to meat ratio! All about it. People don’t think about the fact that a sandwich needs to have balanced ingredients just like any other dish.

    Very nice observations of Shorty’s vs Carl’s. From the descriptions alone, there’s no doubt Shorty’s is doing it better than Carl’s. But our boys a few commenters above disagree, calling Carl’s the best after a comprehensive hunt.

    I’ve only had Carl’s once and it was after a night of drinking several years ago, but if my memory serves me correctly, I had fries with my sandwich. Either way, after all that good intel, I’m most intrigued about the sexy counter girl at Shorty’s.

    stevenp,
    Count yourself in, we’re going to have to undertake a serious wing tour after all this talk. How many places do you think you’re capable of hitting in one day? Sucks that Wogie’s was packed but the Philly fans had a worse day. Who’s AYCD? Never been to Bonelick Park before but heard they have a good brunch. Any recommendations there? How are the regular ribs and the pulled pork?

  22. Chris said:

    I’m no expert, but I think Chink’s in NE Philly is worth a stop on your tour.

  23. Before Sunrise said:

    Thanks Food Guy. If only it was as simple as explaining meridians to you 🙂

    I am looking forward to planning a “post exam celebration” in Feb, maybe your reviews will inspire me!

  24. stevenp said:

    NYCFG: I think I could hit 5-6 wing places in a day if we split orders, before the taste buds get overwhelmed. Of course, if there’s more to be tested, I’m always a trouper!

    Bonelick park has AYCD brunch on Sat-Sun for about $12-$15, with bloody marys, mimosas, and frozen margaritas. I’ve only been there for brunch. The beef ribs are very tasty, pulled pork (brunch) is tender and tasty. Their fried oysters (brunch) are very good but they get colsd fast.Their eggs (which come with most brunch dishes) are very good, as are their au gratin potatoes and cheese grits. The turkey sausage on a muffin is also extremely tasty.

    As for Philly cheesesteaks, back in my hardcore days while living in DC, me and a couple of friends used to roadtrip to Philly for ECW shows, followed by a Tony Luke’s cheesesteak (occasionally chicken cheesesteak) down the block after midnight. They were always amazingly good in all respects.

  25. Gilda MacDonald said:

    Well, we did it. Went to Wogies today and was very happy indeed. Look out PHilly! The meat is hearty, plenty of cheese and the bread is perfect to absorb the grease bombage. Can’t wait to get back. I will get wings next time and the garbage bread. That stuff looks great!

  26. The NYC Food Guy said:

    Gilda,
    Glad to hear you enjoyed the meal. Let’s go together next time and feast!

  27. Gilda MacDonald said:

    Well, we did it Lawrence. We went back to Wogies a second time and feasted. Please do join us when you get a yen for grease bombage of such a fine caliber. That bread is what holds the whole thing together. Next time however, I am going to indulge in the garbage bread. It looks well worth the fat content. Love your blog, keep doing what you are doing!

  28. will said:

    all bread this shit sucks

  29. Gilda MacDonald said:

    Went for a third round of sandwiches yesterday. I finally had my pookie. And it was a welcome sandwich on a terribly snowy day. Wash it down with some Blue Moon and who’s better than you?

  30. The NYC Food Guy said:

    Gilda MacDonald,
    You’re beating me in Wogie’s visits! I love the idea of a fiery buffalo chicken sandwich and a beer on a cold day. Glad to hear you enjoyed!

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