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Best Italian Beef

Best Italian Beef
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  • Post #961 - September 14th, 2023, 10:28 pm
    Post #961 - September 14th, 2023, 10:28 pm Post #961 - September 14th, 2023, 10:28 pm
    I've had a lot of beefs over the years (some sublime, others sub-par) but for whatever reason never made it to Al's on Taylor. I've long realized this was a serious stain on my resume as a Chicagoan and IB aficionado. And I rectified it last weekend.

    I can't offer much to say that hasn't been shared extensively here but I will say that this was truly the beef I always hoped it would be and the beef I'll always desire among all other contenders. The aggressively herbaceous (cloves? nutmeg?) flavor might put some off but it was right up my alley. And my first trip to Mario's afterward... just heaven.

    The experience with the staff was also authentically old-school Chicago; no-nonsense would be putting it mildly. The guy ahead of us in line was pleading with the cashier and servers to purchase a small cup of plain beef for his daughter (no bread/roll) and they were NOT having it. They had him order a regular IB sandwich...he was perturbed and raising his voice in protest. Then, when picking up his order, he asked for a styrofoam cup for the beef (there were courtesy water cups next to the fountain drinks), and they were like, "NO". Which, from how I observed it, was to protect/honor the sanctity of the beef vs anything else. At this point, the guy just lost it, going on a lengthy profanity-filled rage-rant (with my young son standing right there) before storming out. The staff just stared at him stoically without a hint of concern or empathy. And as I was next, I chose all my next words and requests quite carefully...

    For most restaurants, everything above would constitute a major red flag. But I was loving every minute of it. As we walked out the door to head home, I put on my best "fatherly wisdom" voice and told my kid they don't make places like this anymore.
  • Post #962 - September 14th, 2023, 10:49 pm
    Post #962 - September 14th, 2023, 10:49 pm Post #962 - September 14th, 2023, 10:49 pm
    PeteF wrote:For most restaurants, everything above would constitute a major red flag. But I was loving every minute of it. As we walked out the door to head home, I put on my best "fatherly wisdom" voice and told my kid they don't make places like this anymore.

    Now, that is a fatherly moment! :)

    =R=
    Same planet, different world
  • Post #963 - September 18th, 2023, 12:07 pm
    Post #963 - September 18th, 2023, 12:07 pm Post #963 - September 18th, 2023, 12:07 pm

    (Oops. I addressed the wrong person. Corrected.) PeteF, I ate at Al's on Taylor back in July. I paid cash. Did you notice any signs that it was now accepting a credit card? (After paying, I thought I glimpsed the vertical decal of Visa | Master Card | Discover.) :?:
    Last edited by pudgym29 on September 18th, 2023, 12:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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  • Post #964 - September 18th, 2023, 12:32 pm
    Post #964 - September 18th, 2023, 12:32 pm Post #964 - September 18th, 2023, 12:32 pm
    pudgym29 wrote: Ron, I ate at Al's on Taylor back in July. I paid cash. Did you notice any signs that it was now accepting a credit card? (After paying, I thought I glimpsed the vertical decal of Visa | Master Card | Discover.) :?:

    I wasn't me. It was PeteF. I just commented on his post.

    =R=
    Same planet, different world
  • Post #965 - September 18th, 2023, 1:59 pm
    Post #965 - September 18th, 2023, 1:59 pm Post #965 - September 18th, 2023, 1:59 pm
    pudgym29 wrote:Did you notice any signs that it was now accepting a credit card?

    Yep, I paid by credit card at Al's (I was ready with cash but I saw the card reader on the counter). There was no option to leave a tip via CC but it's not the kind of place where an iPad gives you the option to choose either 22%, 25%, or 30%...
  • Post #966 - December 1st, 2023, 5:39 pm
    Post #966 - December 1st, 2023, 5:39 pm Post #966 - December 1st, 2023, 5:39 pm
    Some big news from the Johnnies AH location:

    Image

    I gave the 9" beef a try...it was larger than expected. I don't know what size the standard is, but this was a really big beef.

    For those who find a regular beef at Johnnies a little too little, it's certainly a welcome option. Can't argue with the price tag either.
    "Ah, lamentably no, my gastronomic rapacity knows no satiety" - Homer J. Simpson
  • Post #967 - December 1st, 2023, 9:16 pm
    Post #967 - December 1st, 2023, 9:16 pm Post #967 - December 1st, 2023, 9:16 pm
    Two clams for peppers? In my mind it ought to be part of the price of the sandwich: if you're too dumb to have peppers, THEN you lose.
    What is patriotism, but the love of good things we ate in our childhood?
    -- Lin Yutang
  • Post #968 - December 1st, 2023, 10:04 pm
    Post #968 - December 1st, 2023, 10:04 pm Post #968 - December 1st, 2023, 10:04 pm
    Those pictured gravy fries appear to have a lot of beef, especially considering that seems to be a 9" plate.
  • Post #969 - December 2nd, 2023, 12:43 pm
    Post #969 - December 2nd, 2023, 12:43 pm Post #969 - December 2nd, 2023, 12:43 pm
    Stopped by Johnies's in AH this morning.
    Had to wait until they opened at 11am.
    The 9” with peppers and AH taxes cost me $12 with 83 cents going into the glass jar!
    Took the Beef home with me and split it with the wife.
    Did not get my usual half dip because I figured it would be mushy enough by the time I got home.
    I was right but still holdable……..just, after microwaving.
    Glad I have waterproof mats in the car as the juice bled through the wrapping paper and bag. It was well wrapped.
    The Beef was as good as ever!!!
    -Richard
  • Post #970 - December 7th, 2023, 3:59 pm
    Post #970 - December 7th, 2023, 3:59 pm Post #970 - December 7th, 2023, 3:59 pm
    Had a Viet Dip today at Phodega without aioli. What a delicious sandwich!
  • Post #971 - December 14th, 2023, 8:40 am
    Post #971 - December 14th, 2023, 8:40 am Post #971 - December 14th, 2023, 8:40 am
    Italian beef by the pound from Nottoli Italian Foods on Harlem. Beef is great. Jus even better.

    click to enlarge
    Image
    Image

    Italian Beef, count me a Fan!
    Hold my beer . . .

    Low & Slow
  • Post #972 - January 11th, 2024, 9:38 am
    Post #972 - January 11th, 2024, 9:38 am Post #972 - January 11th, 2024, 9:38 am
    With a lot of talk of The Bear during awards season, its inspiration Mr. Beef, and an errand on Elmhurst Road, I thought I'd check out Mr. Beef and Pizza (which is related to the original). Last time I was there they had a room on the side for pizza parties (I think it was for a Cub Scouts event), that's now a Video Gam(bl)ing room.

    Regular-size beef, hot, fries and a drink set me back over $16. (There's a smaller version of the sandwich I probably would have been satisfied with). Fries are thicker-cut than many hot dog stands, very crisp with creamy centers. Drinks were sadly Pepsi products -- had I noticed that before ordering I might have just gotten a cup for water.

    The beef was good, but not my personal favorite. Very beefy flavor, but low on spices and the giardiniera was underwhelmingly mild, and the roll too soft.
    What is patriotism, but the love of good things we ate in our childhood?
    -- Lin Yutang
  • Post #973 - January 15th, 2024, 10:24 am
    Post #973 - January 15th, 2024, 10:24 am Post #973 - January 15th, 2024, 10:24 am
    If you're a subscriber to the Trib - Nick wrote an article today on the history of the sandwich. https://www.chicagotribune.com/dining/c ... story.html
    Never order barbecue in a place that also serves quiche - Lewis Grizzard
  • Post #974 - January 15th, 2024, 10:26 pm
    Post #974 - January 15th, 2024, 10:26 pm Post #974 - January 15th, 2024, 10:26 pm
    Dave148 wrote:If you're a subscriber to the Trib - Nick wrote an article today on the history of the sandwich. https://www.chicagotribune.com/dining/c ... story.html

    Deja Vu all over again. Rene G and Mike Gebert were singing this song twenty years ago…
    If you aren't tasting, you aren't cooking.
  • Post #975 - January 25th, 2024, 12:13 pm
    Post #975 - January 25th, 2024, 12:13 pm Post #975 - January 25th, 2024, 12:13 pm
    Since moving to Texas, one of the Chicago eats that I miss most is Italian Beef. When I come back to chicagoland, I make it a point to get my beef fix at least once - despite being the far west suburbs. For the last 10 years, my goto place has been The Original Nanas.

    https://theoriginalnanashotdogs.com

    Address:1102 E. Irving Park Rd Streamwood, IL 60107
    Phone: 630-289-2226

    This has always been a dependable choice with great fries and a classic combo meal that includes a mini beef and hot dog.

    But for the last 2 or 3 visits, they've really upped their Italian Beef game and the sandwich is now exceptional. I daresay it might now be my second favorite (after the Original Al's on Taylor.)

    Anyway, if you are out near Streamwood in the Western Burbs and need a beef, this is your place. I've tried almost every other place in the area a
  • Post #976 - January 25th, 2024, 12:32 pm
    Post #976 - January 25th, 2024, 12:32 pm Post #976 - January 25th, 2024, 12:32 pm
    veeral wrote:Since moving to Texas, one of the Chicago eats that I miss most is Italian Beef. When I come back to chicagoland, I make it a point to get my beef fix at least once - despite being the far west suburbs. For the last 10 years, my goto place has been The Original Nanas.

    https://theoriginalnanashotdogs.com



    Noted.

    I don't know where in Tx you are, but if you haven't checked, Portillos has some shops, hopefully somewhere close enough to scratch an itch for you:

    https://www.portillos.com/all-locations/
    We cannot be friends if you do not know the difference between Mayo and Miracle Whip.
    Pronoun: That fool over there
    Identifies as: A human that doesn't need to "identify as" something to try to somehow be interesting.
  • Post #977 - January 25th, 2024, 12:33 pm
    Post #977 - January 25th, 2024, 12:33 pm Post #977 - January 25th, 2024, 12:33 pm
    veeral wrote: For the last 10 years, my goto place has been The Original Nanas.
    =-=-=-
    I daresay it might now be my second favorite (after the Original Al's on Taylor.)


    As Al's on Taylor is my number one choice I will have to give Nanas a go. Thanks for posting.
    Hold my beer . . .

    Low & Slow
  • Post #978 - January 25th, 2024, 12:38 pm
    Post #978 - January 25th, 2024, 12:38 pm Post #978 - January 25th, 2024, 12:38 pm
    veeral wrote:Since moving to Texas, one of the Chicago eats that I miss most is Italian Beef. When I come back to chicagoland, I make it a point to get my beef fix at least once - despite being the far west suburbs. For the last 10 years, my goto place has been The Original Nanas.

    https://theoriginalnanashotdogs.com

    Address:1102 E. Irving Park Rd Streamwood, IL 60107
    Phone: 630-289-2226

    This has always been a dependable choice with great fries and a classic combo meal that includes a mini beef and hot dog.

    But for the last 2 or 3 visits, they've really upped their Italian Beef game and the sandwich is now exceptional. I daresay it might now be my second favorite (after the Original Al's on Taylor.)

    Anyway, if you are out near Streamwood in the Western Burbs and need a beef, this is your place. I've tried almost every other place in the area a


    Yes, thanks for this rec! I live out in that general direction. It's not much further from me than my current top w. suburban IB at Beef Shack in Bartlett, which frankly makes a just-okay beef (their fries are top tier though.)
  • Post #979 - January 25th, 2024, 12:59 pm
    Post #979 - January 25th, 2024, 12:59 pm Post #979 - January 25th, 2024, 12:59 pm
    veeral wrote:
    https://theoriginalnanashotdogs.com

    Address:1102 E. Irving Park Rd Streamwood, IL 60107


    This has always been a dependable choice with great fries and a classic combo meal that includes a mini beef and hot dog.

    a


    I have had that combo a few times. Hits the spot. That said I find their beef to not he up to the top tier spots - good but not great. imho. YMMV
  • Post #980 - January 28th, 2024, 11:10 am
    Post #980 - January 28th, 2024, 11:10 am Post #980 - January 28th, 2024, 11:10 am
    [/quote]

    Noted.

    I don't know where in Tx you are, but if you haven't checked, Portillos has some shops, hopefully somewhere close enough to scratch an itch for you:

    https://www.portillos.com/all-locations/[/quote]

    Thanks for the Rec. I was excited when Portillos announced their opening. It’s not my favorite beef but def does ok in a pinch. Sadly, I was not very impressed at my one visit to a location in Allen. Was worse than the Chicago area portillos.
  • Post #981 - January 28th, 2024, 11:21 am
    Post #981 - January 28th, 2024, 11:21 am Post #981 - January 28th, 2024, 11:21 am
    jimswside wrote:
    I have had that combo a few times. Hits the spot. That said I find their beef to not he up to the top tier spots - good but not great. imho. YMMV


    I agree with your general assessment but the beef’s the last 2-3 years have been much better than I remember. Give it another try if you are in the area.

    One of the things that I appreciate about Nanas is the kitchen (which you walk through on the way to the bathroom). You can see everything is being made in house. Because it’s all made there, there’s bound to be some variation in sandwich quality.

    And to be clear, I don’t think Nanas is close to Al’s (which is perfect). Just that is a good to really good option for the W Suburbs.
  • Post #982 - January 28th, 2024, 11:22 am
    Post #982 - January 28th, 2024, 11:22 am Post #982 - January 28th, 2024, 11:22 am
    Jefe wrote:

    Yes, thanks for this rec! I live out in that general direction. It's not much further from me than my current top w. suburban IB at Beef Shack in Bartlett, which frankly makes a just-okay beef (their fries are top tier though.)


    Agree with you about Beef Shack beefs and fries.
  • Post #983 - January 29th, 2024, 12:30 pm
    Post #983 - January 29th, 2024, 12:30 pm Post #983 - January 29th, 2024, 12:30 pm
    Little Joe's in Countryside is excellent and was listed among the 20 best in Chicago by Nick Kindelsperger in the Chicago Tribune. As he pointed out, the giardiniera is quite celery-forward.

    Little Joe's
    20 East Plainfield Road,
    Countryside
    (708) 352-9696
    littlejoesbeef.net
  • Post #984 - January 29th, 2024, 1:18 pm
    Post #984 - January 29th, 2024, 1:18 pm Post #984 - January 29th, 2024, 1:18 pm
    ld111134 wrote:Little Joe's in Countryside is excellent and was listed among the 20 best in Chicago by Nick Kindelsperger in the Chicago Tribune. As he pointed out, the giardiniera is quite celery-forward.

    Little Joe's
    20 East Plainfield Road,
    Countryside
    (708) 352-9696
    littlejoesbeef.net



    Yep. Little Joes has their own thread Circa 2008. and I’m pretty sure it’s mentioned on this one. Solid Beef. Kindlesperger knows where to go to get recommendations. lol.
  • Post #985 - January 29th, 2024, 1:49 pm
    Post #985 - January 29th, 2024, 1:49 pm Post #985 - January 29th, 2024, 1:49 pm
    jimswside wrote:
    ld111134 wrote:Little Joe's in Countryside is excellent and was listed among the 20 best in Chicago by Nick Kindelsperger in the Chicago Tribune. As he pointed out, the giardiniera is quite celery-forward.

    Little Joe's
    20 East Plainfield Road,
    Countryside
    (708) 352-9696
    littlejoesbeef.net



    Yep. Good call. Little Joes has their own thread Circa 2008. and I’m pretty sure it’s mentioned on this one. Solid Beef. Kindlesperger knows where to go to get recommendations. lol.
  • Post #986 - January 30th, 2024, 7:48 am
    Post #986 - January 30th, 2024, 7:48 am Post #986 - January 30th, 2024, 7:48 am
    tjr wrote:Those pictured gravy fries appear to have a lot of beef, especially considering that seems to be a 9" plate.

    One could call it the Chicago version of poutine.
  • Post #987 - February 1st, 2024, 9:17 am
    Post #987 - February 1st, 2024, 9:17 am Post #987 - February 1st, 2024, 9:17 am
    jnm123 wrote:
    tjr wrote:Those pictured gravy fries appear to have a lot of beef, especially considering that seems to be a 9" plate.

    One could call it the Chicago version of poutine.


    The Chicago version of poutine can be found at Phodega, although it leans a bit Vietnamese.
  • Post #988 - February 1st, 2024, 10:55 am
    Post #988 - February 1st, 2024, 10:55 am Post #988 - February 1st, 2024, 10:55 am
    While the Pho-to looks good, not entirely sure it's got a lot to do with traditional Chicago:Image
  • Post #989 - February 1st, 2024, 12:30 pm
    Post #989 - February 1st, 2024, 12:30 pm Post #989 - February 1st, 2024, 12:30 pm
    jnm123 wrote:
    tjr wrote:Those pictured gravy fries appear to have a lot of beef, especially considering that seems to be a 9" plate.

    One could call it the Chicago version of poutine.


    Bad Apple also has a Chicago poutine, which is fries, smoked brisket, unbattered curds, jalapenos (giardiniera substitute?) and a spicy gravy.
  • Post #990 - March 17th, 2024, 1:12 pm
    Post #990 - March 17th, 2024, 1:12 pm Post #990 - March 17th, 2024, 1:12 pm
    For a shack roundly criticized here on LTHF, here is a line out the door of Mr. Beef on Orleans at 3:40 pm on Saturday, 16 March 2024.
    Image Image
    Here is a bonus shot of the menu board, with prices annotated {unlike that of Roma's on N. Cicero Ave.}.
    Image
    "It's so lousy, no one goes there anymore." :roll:
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