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Monti's Restaurant - Lincoln Square Cheese Steaks

Monti's Restaurant - Lincoln Square Cheese Steaks
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  • Monti's Restaurant - Lincoln Square Cheese Steaks

    Post #1 - March 19th, 2012, 7:49 am
    Post #1 - March 19th, 2012, 7:49 am Post #1 - March 19th, 2012, 7:49 am
    Got tipped off about Monti's a couple weeks ago by a buddy, A new cheesesteak place is always something I am curious to try, especially in CHicago where I havent found a good place yet, and when a trek up to Wisconsin for the Philly Way or Ken & Betty's is the closest fix a closer spot would be appreciated.

    Hit Monti's this past Friday for a couple sandwiches, they have a full bar and some high top tables. Went with an authentic philly - white american cheese & a roast pork loin grinder with broccoli rabe, provolone.

    Cheesesteak came out quick and was really good and I was kicking myself for not getting a cheesesteak hoagie as well. Monti's cheesesteak was perhaps one of the best I have had in the past few years. Bread was perfect, & meat was well seasoned and perfectly cooked. $11 for the 8" I beleieve.

    Pork sandwich for me wasnt a big hit, I did like the broccoli rabe, wish they had put more on, but the pork whil having some nice roasted flavor was a little dry.

    Ill be back for some cheesesteaks for sure.

    Image

    cheesesteak:
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    roast pork:
    Image

    they aint lyin':

    Image

    Monti's Restaurant
    4757 N. Talman
    Chicago, IL.

    http://www.ilovemontis.com
  • Post #2 - March 19th, 2012, 8:01 am
    Post #2 - March 19th, 2012, 8:01 am Post #2 - March 19th, 2012, 8:01 am
    So I live just a couple minute walk from this place and you find it before me? What's up with that? Thanks for the tip Jim - this looks like some good NCAA tourney food that I'll have to check out sometime this week.
  • Post #3 - March 19th, 2012, 8:03 am
    Post #3 - March 19th, 2012, 8:03 am Post #3 - March 19th, 2012, 8:03 am
    BR wrote:So I live just a couple minute walk from this place and you find it before me? What's up with that? Thanks for the tip Jim - this looks like some good NCAA tourney food that I'll have to check out sometime this week.


    lol, I have to give huge props to a buddy for tipping me off about it and joining me for the sandwiches.
  • Post #4 - March 19th, 2012, 8:19 am
    Post #4 - March 19th, 2012, 8:19 am Post #4 - March 19th, 2012, 8:19 am
    Amoroso rolls! Menu says "wit"! Hoagies (subs as youz peoples call it)! Tastykake! . . . I'm so there - might even move in if it's good enough. Now if they only had pretzels and scrapple.
  • Post #5 - March 19th, 2012, 9:55 am
    Post #5 - March 19th, 2012, 9:55 am Post #5 - March 19th, 2012, 9:55 am
    Amoroso par-cooked frozen rolls or not, that roast pork doesn't look like it's even trying to be what one gets in Philly. So dry. Too little rabe. And gilled bell peppers? Do not give up on the pork, Italian sandwich based on what is pictured here. Little relation. It appears they griddled it up on the flat top as one would the steak. But as noted in the Philly threads, roast pork is juicy and prepped much more like a Chicago IB than a Philly steak, ironically enough. I hope they correct that, because I really enjoy a roast pork with rabe and prov and would like a local option. The steak looks pretty darn good for what it is. Thanks for the heads up.
  • Post #6 - March 19th, 2012, 10:38 am
    Post #6 - March 19th, 2012, 10:38 am Post #6 - March 19th, 2012, 10:38 am
    JeffB wrote:Amoroso par-cooked frozen rolls or not, that roast pork doesn't look like it's even trying to be what one gets in Philly. So dry. Too little rabe. And gilled bell peppers? Do not give up on the pork, Italian sandwich based on what is pictured here. Little relation. It appears they griddled it up on the flat top as one would the steak. But as noted in the Philly threads, roast pork is juicy and prepped much more like a Chicago IB than a Philly steak, ironically enough. I hope they correct that, because I really enjoy a roast pork with rabe and prov and would like a local option. The steak looks pretty darn good for what it is. Thanks for the heads up.



    Yes! Philly style pork sandwiches most resemble Italian beef sandwiches in the way they are wet and full, and even the spicing is not that different. Interestingly, in Philly, there are also beef and even turkey sandwiches done in this style. It also reminds me that at Phillipes in LA, one can get a french dip of lamb, beef or turkey. What I'm getting at is, why cannot someone around here expand a bit on the IB tradition. Who would not love to see an Al's pork sammy?
    Think Yiddish, Dress British - Advice of Evil Ronnie to me.
  • Post #7 - March 19th, 2012, 12:19 pm
    Post #7 - March 19th, 2012, 12:19 pm Post #7 - March 19th, 2012, 12:19 pm
    Does Monti's have cheese whiz? I thought I saw that they weren't offering it. I'm a whiz guy, but I'll have to check them out regardless given they are pretty close to home.
  • Post #8 - March 20th, 2012, 8:20 am
    Post #8 - March 20th, 2012, 8:20 am Post #8 - March 20th, 2012, 8:20 am
    I was contacted by the owner of Monti's and was told the roast pork sandwich we were served was served incorrectly on our visit(kitchen growing pains). It should have never seen the grill, among other things.

    I told them no worries, id be back for more cheesesteaks no matter what.
    Last edited by jimswside on March 20th, 2012, 9:29 am, edited 1 time in total.
  • Post #9 - March 20th, 2012, 9:27 am
    Post #9 - March 20th, 2012, 9:27 am Post #9 - March 20th, 2012, 9:27 am
    Jennifer Monti has been very active in replying to posters on Yelp who have had issues.
  • Post #10 - March 20th, 2012, 10:30 am
    Post #10 - March 20th, 2012, 10:30 am Post #10 - March 20th, 2012, 10:30 am
    Can anyone provide a comparison with the reigning cheesesteak king in Chicago, Philly's Best? My go-to order for years there has been cheese whiz, light onions, on garlic bread, following by sprinkling a little kosher salt on top.
  • Post #11 - March 20th, 2012, 11:37 am
    Post #11 - March 20th, 2012, 11:37 am Post #11 - March 20th, 2012, 11:37 am
    The Monti's cheesesteak I had this past Friday was head and shoulders above any I have had at PB. Better cheese, meat, and flavor.

    ymmv.
  • Post #12 - March 20th, 2012, 7:56 pm
    Post #12 - March 20th, 2012, 7:56 pm Post #12 - March 20th, 2012, 7:56 pm
    After Jim's post, it didn't take me too long to get over to Monti's, having dinner there last night. Though technically I spent my childhood just outside Manhattan, I have a large contingent of Philly relatives and I've spent a lot of time in Philly, and continue to spend plenty of time visiting friends and relatives in NYC and Philly. So cheesesteaks (and other items served at Monti's) are near and dear to my heart.

    Let's start with the cheesesteak. This was pretty close to a home run. Bread - perfect, just as you'd get in Philly. Cheese - well, no wiz (at least not listed on the menu and I didn't ask) so I opted for the white American cheese (perfectly acceptable even for this wiz guy - don't ask). But the best part of this sandwich was the beef itself and this is where I separate Monti's from Philly's Best (and most places in Philly for that matter). This beef was delicious, well cut and appropriately sized pieces, and could stand on its own. Now Jim, I get your Philly's Best issue - you're a Chicago guy and you're starting with a clean slate. I just know that Philly's Best tastes like home to me. Monti's - as good a beef flavor as I've ever found in a cheesesteak and I prefer it to Philly's best for that reason.

    But there's just one issue with the cheesesteak I had at Monti's - I thought the ratio of beef to cheese and onions was just a little high . . . could use a little more onions and cheese (maybe a tad less beef could be tolerated, but it's a good sized portion). Really small complaint for a place that has been open a week. Anyway, here are a couple of pictures of one-half of my cheesesteak (which I took to go):

    Image

    Image

    Let's move on to the fries at Monti's, which are complimentary with a cheesesteak. My first thought was "holy sh*t", they're pretty damn close to the crabfries at Chickie's and Pete's in Philly, except that instead of crinkle fries, they appear to be flat but skin on. In any event, the seasoning was just a bit more delicate but seemed very similar. For those less familiar, Chickie's and Pete's use Old Bay seasoning and while I wouldn't say it's anything Chicagoans need to run out of their way for, those from Philly hunting for some feeling of home should appreciate the similar flavor. Oh, pretty damn well fried too - crispy on the outside, soft in the middle. Here's a pic:

    Image

    Now while I really enjoyed the cheesesteak and fries, I wasn't as big of fan of the wings I had yesterday. I went with the "nuclear" option as they're listed on the menu, but I didn't even find them to be hot. I was told there is even some ghost pepper in there but in my book these were somewhere closer to mild heat and definitely less than medium. They also offer Buffalo-flavored on the menu so I might try that option next time (hoping for more heat).

    Now while I took my order to go, I ordered there so I had to wait a few minutes for my order to be prepped and it only tookd a couple of minutes to grow a strong liking for this place as a spot for a casual bite and maybe to watch a game on the tvs - great vibe, super nice people working there, good setup as far as bar/tables/tvs are concerned, and right around the corner for me. I'm definitely looking forward to returning, probably this weekend.

    For those who don't live right around the corner, you should know that it's about a 2 minute walk from the Rockwell Brown Line station, easily accessible if taking the Lawrence bus, and street parking is plentiful too. Just when I thought the opening of Goosefoot and the expansion of the menu at Nhu Lan was all that was happening around Lincoln Square . . . welcome Monti's!
    Last edited by BR on March 4th, 2013, 9:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.
  • Post #13 - March 21st, 2012, 1:45 am
    Post #13 - March 21st, 2012, 1:45 am Post #13 - March 21st, 2012, 1:45 am
    Nice thorough report,

    Makes me want to get back asap.
  • Post #14 - March 21st, 2012, 12:01 pm
    Post #14 - March 21st, 2012, 12:01 pm Post #14 - March 21st, 2012, 12:01 pm
    I hit up Monti's for a cheese steak for lunch today. I thought it was great. The beef was really flavorful. I went with the aged cheddar sauce. I look forward to a return visit soon.
  • Post #15 - March 21st, 2012, 4:18 pm
    Post #15 - March 21st, 2012, 4:18 pm Post #15 - March 21st, 2012, 4:18 pm
    "I thought the ratio of beef to cheese and onions was just a little high"

    The opposite of PB, where a normal order almost seems like half beef and half onions; hence the light onions order, which seems to be just right for me.

    Anyway, it sounds like Monti's might be my first non-PB Chicago cheesesteak in many a year.
  • Post #16 - March 23rd, 2012, 11:06 am
    Post #16 - March 23rd, 2012, 11:06 am Post #16 - March 23rd, 2012, 11:06 am
    Thanks for posting this - right in my neighborhood and I didn't know! I will try them out this weekend. Note: their map is misleading - Rockwell, south of Lawrence, is NOT one-way as their map depicts. Just fyi.

    Wow, talk about a two-fer sandwich option - Nhu Lan and cheese steaks within a stone's throw of each other!
    Objects in mirror appear to be losing.
  • Post #17 - March 23rd, 2012, 2:39 pm
    Post #17 - March 23rd, 2012, 2:39 pm Post #17 - March 23rd, 2012, 2:39 pm
    Kman wrote:Wow, talk about a two-fer sandwich option - Nhu Lan and cheese steaks within a stone's throw of each other!
    Haven't had much luck with cheese steaks on their home turf and went to Monti's half expecting a Kuhdo at Nhu Lan, but was pleasantly surprised, extremely so. Quality well made ingredients, crisp fries, efficient friendly service, full bar, which we did not avail ourselves of, and an owner who is a long time restaurant pro, including some high-end joints, who clearly loves Philadelphia's signature offering.

    Monti's, first blush, count me a fan.
    Hold my beer . . .

    Low & Slow
  • Post #18 - March 23rd, 2012, 4:22 pm
    Post #18 - March 23rd, 2012, 4:22 pm Post #18 - March 23rd, 2012, 4:22 pm
    BR wrote:Let's move on to the fries at Monti's, which are complimentary with a cheesesteak. My first thought was "holy sh*t", they're pretty damn close to the crabfries at Chickie's and Pete's in Philly, except that instead of crinkle fries, they appear to be flat but skin on. In any event, the seasoning was just a bit more delicate but seemed very similar. For those less familiar, Chickie's and Pete's use Old Bay seasoning and while I wouldn't say it's anything Chicagoans need to run out of their way for, those from Philly hunting for some feeling of home should appreciate the similar flavor. Oh, pretty damn well fried too - crispy on the outside, soft in the middle.


    Update: Just celery salt on the fries according to the folks at Monti's (although there is celery salt in Old Bay seasoning, Old Bay has other ingredients). So maybe not the same seasoning as C&P's in Philly, but damn good.
  • Post #19 - March 23rd, 2012, 4:29 pm
    Post #19 - March 23rd, 2012, 4:29 pm Post #19 - March 23rd, 2012, 4:29 pm
    BR wrote:
    BR wrote:Let's move on to the fries at Monti's, which are complimentary with a cheesesteak. My first thought was "holy sh*t", they're pretty damn close to the crabfries at Chickie's and Pete's in Philly, except that instead of crinkle fries, they appear to be flat but skin on. In any event, the seasoning was just a bit more delicate but seemed very similar. For those less familiar, Chickie's and Pete's use Old Bay seasoning and while I wouldn't say it's anything Chicagoans need to run out of their way for, those from Philly hunting for some feeling of home should appreciate the similar flavor. Oh, pretty damn well fried too - crispy on the outside, soft in the middle.


    Update: Just celery salt on the fries according to the folks at Monti's (although there is celery salt in Old Bay seasoning, Old Bay has other ingredients). So maybe not the same seasoning as C&P's in Philly, but damn good.


    Thanks for the update...so just how many times have you gone since the beginning of this thread 4 days ago?
  • Post #20 - March 23rd, 2012, 4:39 pm
    Post #20 - March 23rd, 2012, 4:39 pm Post #20 - March 23rd, 2012, 4:39 pm
    Just the one time, but the restaurant let me know in a pm.
  • Post #21 - March 28th, 2012, 6:23 am
    Post #21 - March 28th, 2012, 6:23 am Post #21 - March 28th, 2012, 6:23 am
    I happened to find myself in Lincoln Square yesterday during lunchtime so I tried out Monti's . Was pretty happy with my cheesesteak, a 12" with mushrooms and the aged cheddar sauce. I was originally apprehensive with no Cheese Whiz as an option, but I was pretty happy with the aged cheddar. The bread was perfect. Another poster above noted that the beef was a bit too much proportionally to the onions and cheese; I would agree that a bit more onion would be ideal, but I thought the amount of cheese was right on. Might be because I got the cheddar sauce instead of white american. Along with others, I really enjoyed the beef in this cheesesteak.

    I also liked the celery salt on the fries, but it could have used more. I remidied this just by adding more table salt, but I enjoyed the celery salt more.

    All in all, probably my favorite cheesesteak in the city. I thought it was a bit on the expensive side at about $20 for a 12" w/mushrooms, coke, and tax/tip. That being said, the quality is definitely high and I probably didn't need the larger sandwich (but it still didn't stop me from crushing the entire sandwich and fries). I also overheard Jen Monti talking about adding delivery (via grubhub) in the near future. I'll be back.
  • Post #22 - April 2nd, 2012, 7:53 pm
    Post #22 - April 2nd, 2012, 7:53 pm Post #22 - April 2nd, 2012, 7:53 pm
    Hi Monti here...we are starting delivery this week. You can order direct by calling us or thru Grub Hub. Still dialing in the celery salt...some folks like allot of it....others say it is too much...feedback like yours really helps! Thanks for coming in!
  • Post #23 - April 2nd, 2012, 8:18 pm
    Post #23 - April 2nd, 2012, 8:18 pm Post #23 - April 2nd, 2012, 8:18 pm
    I'd love to come in, Had I seen this like 4 hours ago before I got groceries (instead of Kumas... Over a dozen times there, first time they want an ID. I don't drink, and they've never asked before. They just lost my business. I don't have an ID.) I have a craving for a good Philly Cheese Steak. I haven't had a good one... well Ever! the only ones I get are made at home with low quality Jewel meat.

    Hopefully next weekend. Plus it's only 2.5 miles from home. Easy walk for me.
  • Post #24 - April 3rd, 2012, 7:04 pm
    Post #24 - April 3rd, 2012, 7:04 pm Post #24 - April 3rd, 2012, 7:04 pm
    Just went today. I'll have a full review in tomorrow. But I leave you with these

    Image

    They split it in half for us without even asking, that's why it looks so small.

    Image

    Just gotta say Monti and Kery (or keri, I don't remember how to spell her name) was an excellent waitress. I look forward to coming back, too bad I'm out of the delivery range.

    (We were the one's that took the "VIP table" by the window ;)
  • Post #25 - April 8th, 2012, 7:06 pm
    Post #25 - April 8th, 2012, 7:06 pm Post #25 - April 8th, 2012, 7:06 pm
    I made it back to Monti's last weekend - my second visit - and my cheesesteak was even better than the one I enjoyed on my first visit. This time I had the Rocky - grilled onions, provolone, jalapeno, scotch bonnet, charred serrano and spicy mayo (the mayo I had on the side and just used a little). Every bit of peppery heat that I thought was missing in the wings I had on my first visit was certainly present in the Rocky. This sandwich delivered the heat big time, and in a great way. If you love cheesesteaks and hot peppers, do not miss this one. This place is so good and way too close to home - I'm worried the fat-eating side of me is going to kick my healthy-me's ass!
  • Post #26 - April 9th, 2012, 7:26 am
    Post #26 - April 9th, 2012, 7:26 am Post #26 - April 9th, 2012, 7:26 am
    BR wrote:I made it back to Monti's last weekend - my second visit - and my cheesesteak was even better than the one I enjoyed on my first visit. This time I had the Rocky - grilled onions, provolone, jalapeno, scotch bonnet, charred serrano and spicy mayo (the mayo I had on the side and just used a little).


    Evidently, great minds think alike. On my first visit to Monti's, I had the Authentic Philly Chesesteak, but James brought out a little sample of the pepper mix used on The Rocky. I thought the mix of peppers was great and really complimented the sandwich. This time, I ordered The Rocky because I liked the peppers so much. The Rocky was a very good sandwich, but next time I think I'm going back to the Authentic with the added peppers from The Rocky. For me, that is the ideal combo. I much prefer the white american cheese to the provolone on this sandwich and can easily ditch the mayo. Maybe, if I lobby hard enough, I'll finally get a sandwich named after me. :wink:

    Monti's "The Rocky"
    Image
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #27 - April 13th, 2012, 7:50 am
    Post #27 - April 13th, 2012, 7:50 am Post #27 - April 13th, 2012, 7:50 am
    I've been to Monti's three times since they opened. My trip to Philly last Fall confirmed my love for a GOOD cheesesteak which Monti's no doubt does. I could see people who normally have no love for a cheesesteak enjoying one from Monti's. Easily better than the touristy places in South Philly and right there with the locally loved spots in the city of Love and already easily the best Chicago has to offer. The bread is the real deal and the thinly sliced pieces of real ribeye taste great paired "wit da" onions. However I cant seem to catch a break as I was with jimswside on his trip when we were served the Philly style pork roast the wrong way. It was dried out from being cooked on the griddle I guess and not much like the roast porks found at John's, Tony Lukes, Dinics etc. Then on my last trip a few days ago I got served what had to be another mistake...

    Image
    What I got when I asked for a steak wit along with American cheese and peppers from a Rocky

    I knew right away that these looked nothing like those seen in stevez's picture and as described on Monti's menu but I took a bite anyway. Yes it was still a good sandwich but the pickled peppers were nothing special at all, mild and regular tasting to me. I can go to Strack & Van 'Til and find the exact same can of that style if I want too. I made sure the person taking my order understood as I didn't want a sandwich to come with mayo on it etc... So they knew what I was asking for. I dont know if they were out of the spicy pepper concoction or what not but if they were just tell me. I went in expecting a spicy ass cheesesteak, that if it tasted like described would of been great, but ended up with a regular steak with pickled peppers added on, which was still tasty so I'm not whining. I'll be back but lets be real, hitting .333 should win you a National League batting title but it isn't a good average for an eating establishment. I guess this is why I usually give a place a couple months before stopping in. I think that gives them the time needed to get into a "system" like groove.
  • Post #28 - April 13th, 2012, 7:58 am
    Post #28 - April 13th, 2012, 7:58 am Post #28 - April 13th, 2012, 7:58 am
    Beef,

    That's wrong, wrong, wrong. The hot peppers I've been served don't look a thing like those. All the more reason for naming the sandwich after me. That way, they'll be no kitchen mistake when ordering. :wink:
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #29 - April 29th, 2012, 7:26 am
    Post #29 - April 29th, 2012, 7:26 am Post #29 - April 29th, 2012, 7:26 am
    the rocky was a little to over the top imo, the mayo didnt work for me, but the peppers were popping, i pulled out some of plentiful chunks of habanero and had them on the regular cheesesteak i also shared.

    Image

    cheesesteak was as good this time as the first, could use some more onions in the mix, but thats me being picky. Also some High Life would be appreciated.

    this blue punch was interesting:

    Image


    Image

    Monti's is becoming that place in Chicago I crave and plan to hit every time in.

    Edit: Cant say i feel the same way about Montis anymore - 3 bad visits over 2013 and 2014 have made it so I wont return. Mojos in Downers is doing a much better sandwich and better customer service.
    Last edited by jimswside on December 18th, 2014, 1:10 pm, edited 2 times in total.
  • Post #30 - May 2nd, 2012, 5:27 pm
    Post #30 - May 2nd, 2012, 5:27 pm Post #30 - May 2nd, 2012, 5:27 pm
    stevez wrote:next time I think I'm going back to the Authentic with the added peppers from The Rocky. For me, that is the ideal combo. I much prefer the white american cheese to the provolone on this sandwich and can easily ditch the mayo. Maybe, if I lobby hard enough, I'll finally get a sandwich named after me. :wink:


    I went back to Monti's today and I think I have hit on the ideal sandwich for my tastes at Monti's. This time I ordered an Authentic with white american and extra onions along with the peppers from The Rocky (specify these peppers by name). This is an off menu sandwich (for now), but I'd recommend trying it this way if you're among the folks who have commented on the sparseness of the onions. I really like what they're doing at Monti's. Until now, Philly Cheesesteak was something I had once in an alternate year blue moon. More or less on the same schedule as White Castle. Monti's has changed that.

    Monti's The ???
    Image
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven

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