A look at what's going on in Trinidad, on H Street, and in the larger area north of Capitol Hill.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Last Night's Taylor Charles Steak & Ice Preview

 Steak and Ice is the new Philly cheesesteak/Philadelphia water ice venture from the guys behind Taylor Gourmet. This is their first non-Taylor Gourmet effort to open, and it's clear that they've put no less effort into creating something really unique here. I had heard prior to my to my visit last night (they open to the public tomorrow 12/12) that the owners sought to reference the experience of ordering a cheesesteak outside from a street stand, while still offering an indoor dining experience. They accomplished this in several ways. When you first walk in you see an internally illuminated ordering sign laying out all of your menu options.

 Next up is the graffiti mural that decorates the ceiling, and parts of walls. DSC_0037
The final three touches are the streetlights hanging from ceiling over the tables you would normally only find outdoors, and the manhole covers embedded in the floor. It works, mostly. The one downside to using actual streetlights is that the glare can be a little bit blinding from the wrong angle, but it didn't bother me once I actually sat down. DSC_0004
Of course, the main attraction is the food. Aside from the cheesesteaks, main offerings include large hotdogs (which seemed more like sausages to me), a couple of salads, a veggie sandwich, two chicken cutlet sandwiches, and a sloppy joe. Cheesesteak primary fillings include beef rib-eye, chicken breast, as well as portabello mushroom caps. DSC_0021
Sides include the predictable fries (original, bay, cheese, "sloppy," and pizza), plus Taylor's Balls, Charles' Balls, truffled cheesesteak eggrolls, and crispy chicken fingers. The Taylor's Balls are cheese fritters, and the Charles' Balls are zucchini. DSC_0013
The condiments are out and ready for your to fix your meal up as you see fit. DSC_0014
Wash it all down with a Penn Pop fountain drink, or a glass of Kool-Aid (they sell bottled water too, but c'mon, you're already eating a cheesesteak). DSC_0010
They also offer a kids menu drawn from the adult selections, except that kids can order the grilled cheese. For dessert: rotating flavors of water ice, custard, gelati, and ice cream sandwiches. DSC_0015
Check out the full menu here. I haven't been able to pull up their website, but you can follow them on Twitter @SteakandIce
1320 H Street
See my full set of photos of Steak and Ice here.


Blogger Tom A. said...

Great preview!

Remind us when they open- Thursday?

Dec 11, 2012, 11:12:00 AM

Blogger monkeyrotica said...

So how was the cheesesteak?

Dec 11, 2012, 11:18:00 AM

Blogger inked said...

The open tomorrow. Can't believe I left that out of the (now updated) post. Thanks!

Very tasty. I was only able to try a couple of the cheesesteaks, and on of the hotdogs, but I liked everything I tasted. The homemade white whiz is a winner. One tip, spread a napkin of something over the table before you eat, otherwise it is going to drip through the table onto your pants. But absolutely delicious when all melty fresh and hot!

Dec 11, 2012, 11:23:00 AM

Blogger monkeyrotica said...

Cool. Excessive drippage is the sign of a good cheesesteak, or Italian beef for that matter. Looking forward to trying this.

Dec 11, 2012, 11:48:00 AM

Anonymous curmudgeon said...

monkeyrotica had to taunt me with the words "italian beef." Why oh why is there no place to get an italian beef (I don't mean a good one -- I mean *any at all, good or not*) outside of the Chicago area? Blah.

Dec 11, 2012, 1:01:00 PM

Blogger monkeyrotica said...

Windy City Red Hots does a decent italian beef. It's not on a Gonnella roll though, so that's probably a deal killer. Is it worth going to freaking Ashburn? That depends on how desperate you are.


Dec 11, 2012, 1:40:00 PM

Anonymous h. lamarr said...

I think this is a nice write-up, but what I come away with overall is that all we've to look forward to is an interior design that is a ridiculous affectation which serves to distract from the fact that the food is so average that it's not worth mentioning in a review of a place that has as its primary purpose the selling food. GO H STREET.

Dec 11, 2012, 11:50:00 PM

Anonymous Shelly said...

My experience started out when I walked in, a couple of open tables, why yes, I will try the cheesesteak mayhap? As truly excited as I was, I couldn't help but be slightly biased, as you see, Mr. Charles of "Charles -Taylor" is my kitty corner neighbor who also owns a Yorkie. I said hello, and placed my order. Noted that the hipster helper at the counter could have been a little friendlier, and the shirt size smedium, should probably be an appropriate large.

The cheesesteak, or purpose of the visit was decent. The cheese was gooey and the steak ems were tender. I did wit whiz as I'm wont to do.

I'd rare this a 3.5. I'll probably be back if not to say hello to a fellow Yorkie lover, but maybe to snack on a sammie. By then I'm sure they'll have the hipster wardrobe mishaps worked out.


Dec 12, 2012, 10:36:00 AM

Anonymous tubbs said...

jesus christ. That place is what the Korova Milk Bar would've looked like if Burgess had been dysgraphic and if Kubric had an extra 21st chromosome.

Dec 12, 2012, 11:18:00 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

@ shelly: your review is way more pretentious than a hipster in a medium t-shirt. Maybe actually tell us about the food experience?

Dec 12, 2012, 12:27:00 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Definitely worth visiting. They nailed the bread, perfect size, texture and flavor. Not an overly large roll like Taylor. They give you the right amount of steak as well. I was worried since Taylor is way too little meat and too much bread but this was perfect. We sampled several cheeses and they were all good. It's as close to philly without going to philly as you can get.

Dec 12, 2012, 2:50:00 PM

Anonymous Shelly said...

@anonymous 12:27: I told you in paragraph 2 how the food was. But luckily I was able tell you more about the ambiance.....


Dec 12, 2012, 3:06:00 PM

Blogger inked said...

h. lamarr,
That wasn't the case at all. I really liked the food that I had. As you can see from the photos, it was very crowded in there. I only got to try two things, so I can't really comment on the whole menu. I tried the Steak and Ice dog, and the cheesesteak with the homemade white whiz. Both were excellent, and I hope to try some of their other offerings soon.

I consider this post to be a first glance at the place, but I wouldn't call it a review. More of a what to expect when you go.

The thing is that I'm not a food writer, and I prefer to leave the food reviews to them. I also don't think anyone should be writing reviews of a restaurant based on food served before the place is actually open.

Dec 12, 2012, 3:47:00 PM

Anonymous T-Shirt said...

Yes Shelly, if by ambiance you mean the guy's t-shirt, you nailed it. Keep up the good work.

Dec 12, 2012, 3:57:00 PM

Anonymous brookland_rez said...

Ate there today. Very good. Got a steak with onions and the white wiz, fries and white wiz, and drink. Cost was about $15.

Dec 12, 2012, 4:06:00 PM

Anonymous adl said...

Ate there this evening. Outstanding.

Dec 12, 2012, 7:28:00 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

best steak and cheese I ever had. will be back

Dec 12, 2012, 11:35:00 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Born and raised in Philly and the cheesesteaks I tasted here today for lunch were awesome and can definitely compete. They do the thinly sliced lean steak instead of the dog food chopped stuff. Will definitely be back to try the chicken cheeseteaks!

Dec 12, 2012, 11:47:00 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

dog food is dog food. Film at Eleven.

Dec 13, 2012, 12:24:00 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The cheesesteaks were better than Pats and Genos. I grew up in Philadelphia. in my opinion they rival Steve's. Was also lucky enough to get a free sample of water ice. They make it in house from scratch and it blows anything I have ever had out of the water. Welcome to the neighborhood. can't want to go back

Dec 13, 2012, 7:07:00 AM

Anonymous Tim said...

I had a cheesesteak wit white wiz and fries (plain). Agree with others about the bread--excellent! The beef and wiz were very tasty as well. I'll be happy to return and sample other items, but expect I'll come back to the cheesesteak.

Dec 13, 2012, 7:39:00 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

A++ Two Thumbs UP! Great stuff. The ribeye was amazing

Dec 13, 2012, 8:42:00 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Phenominal Cheese Steak. I prefer a little more onion on mine. With that said I can't wait to try again

Dec 13, 2012, 1:04:00 PM

Blogger monkeyrotica said...

Yeah, I need to ask for extra onion next time. I've tried the white Wiz and the regular. I prefer the regular. It's a lot more salty. Liked the fried cheeseballs, but didn't care for the dipping sauce. But the bread was solid, a good meat-to-bread ratio, and the line moved fast.

Dec 13, 2012, 1:12:00 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Personally have to confess I know nothing about steak and cheese or cheese steaks Had the green chili with chicken. blew me away. Chicken was breast meat and the house cheese sauce I could lather myself in. You could tell the quality

Dec 13, 2012, 1:55:00 PM

Blogger DCOtter said...

I guess I'm completely missing some fabulous aspect of the cheesesteak served here, but I just had a completely underwhelming lunch. What's with the overly lean steak that fries up like leather? The derisive "dog food" -style reference above is apparently what I prefer. ... or maybe just something with a little more marbling.

In the end, I'm content to give this joint a wide berth and scratch my head while watching everyone else fall over themselves to one-up the praise.

Dec 13, 2012, 3:00:00 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

@DCOtter or you know, you could try it more than once.

Dec 13, 2012, 3:47:00 PM

Anonymous Von said...

Ordered Whiz Wit and I got one of the best cheesesteaks I have had before. Roll was exactly like being in Philadelphia and ribeye not chopped was spot on. Dying to try the water ice and see if it is as authentic.

Dec 13, 2012, 9:54:00 PM

Anonymous Ben Franklin said...

The Philly Experience:

First time I went to Taylor I told the guy they should play some Hall and Oates, he said "I have no idea who you're talking about."

Dec 14, 2012, 4:05:00 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tried it last night, loved the decour and the food was good.

The homemade wiz was awesome, the bread was spot on, maybe the ribeye could have used a little more seasoning.

Can't wait to have it at 2pm after the bars!

Dec 14, 2012, 9:53:00 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tried this last night. This is one of the best sandwiches in town. I'm not going to compare it to anything in Philly.

On quality and value alone, the cheesesteak is less expensive than the sandwiches at Taylor and of much higher quality. They also have mayo on a pump in there.

The interior is a little schtick-heavy for me, especially the menu telling you that hesitation during ordering is unacceptable (it's totally acceptable), but so long as the food remains a relatively high quality indulgence I'll be back frequently. In fact, Taylor will probably lose most of my business to this place.

Dec 15, 2012, 11:41:00 AM

Blogger Tom A. said...

Went last night. The cheese steak sandwich was "meh." Pretty bland. I shouldn't have to add my own topping to make it taste better than the Steak-ums I had in back in the 1980s. Next time I'll try one of their specialty sandwiches.

But the homemade lemon water ice was absolutely amazing, as was the collection of interesting sodas in their fountain.

Dec 15, 2012, 1:14:00 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

^ "cheesesteak SANDWICH"... Lol

Dec 15, 2012, 8:54:00 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Taylor's employee music selection kills me. 10am and its trance on acid made on a home computer. For the love of music please save my brain cells.

Dec 16, 2012, 10:25:00 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I guess I'm completely missing some fabulous aspect of the cheesesteak served here, but I just had a completely underwhelming lunch. What's with the overly lean steak that fries up like leather? The derisive "dog food" -style reference above is apparently what I prefer. ...

Shorter @DCOtter:

"I do not like Philly cheese-steak sandwiches."

Dec 17, 2012, 9:20:00 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Taste better with cheese wiz, but wouldn't any sandwich? Agree with the above statements ; Nothing memorable about the cheese steak...

Dec 19, 2012, 12:13:00 PM

Anonymous Rob said...

Hm. I look at the picture of the store front and the first thing that comes to my mind is "U Street".

Won't get to actually taste it for a number of months...too bad.

Dec 23, 2012, 7:49:00 AM


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