The Philly cheesesteak has been corrupted over the years.
First came the chicken cheesesteak, subbing leaner poultry for beef in a curt nod to “health.” Then came the meatless, sometimes seitan-ic cousins, the vegetarian and vegan “cheesesteaks.”
At Gin & Pop, the newish bar in Francisville, chef Josh Noh also trots out the quotation marks for his mushroom “cheesesteak.”
But you’ll never think “cheesesteak” after you try this richly appointed sandwich, which is built on oyster, cremini, and shiitake mushrooms, with roasted garlic, baby arugula, and pickled shallots to balance the richness, and a truffle fondue made with Quadrello di Bufalo cheese. The whole thing overflows a seeded baguette from Liscio.
Noh says he got the idea while working at Talula’s Garden. It was initially a toast, with Quadrello, mushrooms, and escargot. “The feedback was amazing, so I kept it in my ‘food bank’ as an easy item to transition to a vegetarian option,” he says.
Want to compare it to a regular cheesesteak? You can’t at Gin & Pop. Noh doesn’t offer one, though — heh heh — he will add braised short rib or sliced petite filet to this sandwich upon request.
But then it would be a cheesesteak, right? — Michael Klein
Mushroom “cheesesteak” ($14, including fries) at Gin & Pop, 1839 Poplar St.