Steak ‘M Take ‘M: 7702 Troost

 Posted by at 3:07 am
Aug 072009
 

Steak 'M Take 'M

From last week’s foray to Greedy Man’s BBQ we head south about 20 blocks to an equally vibrant but considerably less charming stretch of Troost Avenue in search of Philly Cheesesteaks. Steak ‘M Take ‘M advertises the Best Cheesesteak Ever on the front of its humble, shack-like exterior, so I decided to put them to the test.


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I wasn’t sure what to expect from a little joint surrounded by vacant storefronts, junky car lots and low-rent hair salons but who am I to judge on location alone? Indeed Steak ‘M Take ‘M is situated just down the way from the location of the Taste of Troost festival earlier this summer, so there must be some interesting things happening in the environs.

The place was completely empty when I walked in: no customers, no staff. A bell rang on the door as I entered and several jovial people walked from the back recesses of the restaurant and up to the counter. It became abundantly clear that this was a carryout business as there were no tables, only a row of low-lying stools along the front window sill. One guy took care of my order and was good about explaining the options since the menu above the counter was only vaguely comprehensible.

Basically they offer hot steak, chicken, turkey and ham sandwiches that come on a hoagie bun topped with onions and cheese. You can also add toppings as diverse as green peppers, mushrooms, olives, hot peppers and lettuce. I opted for a classic Philly steak with green peppers and mushrooms added. The combo comes with fries and a drink for $9 and change, $5 for sandwich only. There is also a larger size sandwich.

Then I was slightly taken aback when he asked what kind of sauce I would like.
Sauce on a cheesesteak?

Yep. This place will put Mayonnaise, BBQ sauce, yellow mustard or honey mustard on your cheesesteak. Honestly I was too confused to be tempted. After hemming and hawing for a minute he suggested I take it without sauce and that is precisely what I did.

While waiting for my food, several more people came in for lunch and I had ample opportunity to check out the 8 foot, custom-made Steak ‘M Take ‘M area rug, depicted below in an incomplete, amateurish photograph.

Steak 'M Take 'M

I received my food in a styrofoam container in less than 5 minutes. I drove it the short distance home, stealing a few remarkably tasty seasoned french fries along the way. Once safely inside I surveyed my impending feast.

Steak 'M Take 'M

It tasted just like it looks: delicious, a little dry, and not quite enough food to warrant a $9 bill at a dingy carryout restaurant. The bread was actually very nice–spongy, firm and not soggy. The steak was tender but not seasoned much. As long as you get a bit of cheese sauce in each bite, there is plenty of flavor. The cheese was a white processed variety that melted silky smooth and added just the right kick of salt and texture to the sandwich. No complaints there.

I ate the thing in a hurry but kind of wished there were more peppers, onions and (canned) mushrooms. The fries were very well cooked and well seasoned but again, I would have like a larger order (yes, I’m a pig).

There is a part of me that wishes I had opted for sauce, simply to say that I had the experience, Otherwise, this was a perfectly fine but not outstanding Philly Cheesesteak sandwich. It beats the hell out of Chartroose Caboose though I’m not sure it can compare to the classic Grinders cheesesteak with velveeta Cheez Whiz. Hell, for $9.41 you can get waited on at Grinders by cute punky kids.

So yeah, I’m certainly not an expert at Philly Cheesesteaks never having had one from the City of Brotherly Love but Steak ‘M Take ‘M gets the job done, while costing a little more than I would like.

But hell, they have a great name don’t they?

Steak'M Take'M on Urbanspoon

Nov 132007
 

This is a fast food, railroad-themed, johnson county cheesesteak emporium. Thanks to commenter JH for bringing this local chain to my attention. Apparently chartreuse is a particularly obnoxious variety of the color green. I’m happy to report that the large model train featured at the Lenexa location opts for a more understated green than true chartreuse. One also hopes that the misspelling “chartroose” was an intentional gesture to facilitate visual rhyming with “caboose” in that gimmicky, commercial signage kind of way.

The Lenexa Caboose is located in a strip mall west of I-35, a truly uninspiring but typical placement for establishments in this part of the metro. The place was entirely filled with dudes–overgrown frat boys on lunch break, college students, random jobless yahoos. Not sure why, but cheesesteak doesn’t seem to be popular with the ladies.

The food at this place is fine, mostly because i can’t really think of another fast food place that specializes in cheesesteaks. As discussed previously, Grinders has a damn good one, but lots of places just phone it in, resulting in highly perplexing and uninspired varieties of this delicacy. The cheesesteak was good, but not awe-inspiring. Shockingly, it really needed more cheese. I’m thinking Cheez Whiz. I mean, it’s called a cheesesteak for chrissake, what’s the deal here? They have other things on the menu but I wasn;t going to order anything else if they consider this the specialty. The prices are cheap–I got outta there for 6 bucks all said.

The decor of course is pretty terrible–formica tables, too much light, hotel-grade artwork with a locomotive theme. They can’t decide whether this is a fast food joint or or a hangout. There is a small video game room and a train track that runs along the circumference of the wall. One can only imagine that the model train takes periodic trips around the confines but I did not witness this. They also serve beer which, along with these other things indicates to me that the Caboose wants to be a dinner destination for families. My advice, quit trying to hard and be a lunch spot.

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Chartroose Caboose on Urbanspoon

Grinders: 417 E. 18th Street

 Posted by at 8:12 pm
Sep 102007
 

Now I like Grinders well enough, but it has a really stupid name. It almost sounds like a chain restaurant in a mall food court, only it should have an exclamation point:

“Come join us at Grinders!”

or maybe “Grynders!”

This place definitely deserves a more interesting moniker.

And Kansas City definitely needs more places like this–most cities are full of them: Casual, cheap, young-ish, inventive, locally-focused, open late. You can smoke, you can have some beers, they have good and fairly interesting food, albeit a little on the lowbrow side.

It’s also easy to pick on Grinders (idiotic name aside) and it usually has to do with Stretch. Yes, that Stretch dude has apparently burned a couple bridges, whatever, I don’t know him at all. Certainly his art is not my cup of tea. Not because it’s too wacky for me, but because he clearly thinks it’s too wacky for someone like me. It’s actually a lot like the stuff my cousin was making in the 60s and 70s, and it’s just not that challenging. And that sculpture park is just plain bad. Anyway, there’s some of that crap in Grinders, including a huge, twisting metal arch near the front door. Whatever, it’s fine really.

Cheesesteak

But the place is locally owned and operated, and the employees seem happy to be there. They certainly are friendly. I wouldn’t call it the most efficient operation, but these kinds of joints rarely are. Anyway, go there, get the Philly cheesesteak with Cheez Whiz (!) and be glad you did.

Grinders on Urbanspoon

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