The red sign over Mr. V's Steaks shines like a beacon of real food for hungry folks who find themselves circling the chain eateries ringing the Franklin Mills Mall. But this year-old steakerie from former Frusco's owner Pete Varanavage is worth a jaunt for anyone seeking a contender for the area's best Philly-style sandwiches.
The tidy, casual restaurant serves excellent hoagies on crusty Perri rolls, including the zesty Heuser ($6.50 for a half), a cured-meat Italian with homemade olive spread named for co-owner Ed Heuser. But it's the serious steaks that should draw the biggest crowds. Mr. V's slices its own fresh rib eye and griddles the well-marbled pads of meat to order behind a picture window in the quilted steel kitchen wall. No chopping necessary, as this steak is wonderfully tender. And when it gets layered into the "Zig" ($6.95), with garlicky greens, two kinds of provolone, and roasted long hot peppers, it's so juicy that it exhibits the finest trait a hot steak can have: good drip.
- Craig LaBan