The Underground Gourmet is not from Philadelphia, but if he were, according to a native Philly friend, his natural response upon being presented with Degustation’s new “cheesesteak” sandwich would be to either sue the chef for false advertising or wait for him outside the restaurant with a horsewhip. Of course, Philadelphians are born with Cheez Whiz running through their veins and that tends to cloud their judgment on such matters.
As menu items wrapped in quotation marks often do, Degustation’s “cheesesteak” makes cheeky, Thomas Keller–esque reference to the real thing without ever running the risk of being mistaken for an actual hoagie. It comes on a single square of pain de mie slicked with olive oil and toasted on the plancha. Then it’s delicately layered from the bottom up with roasted tomato and red pepper, and a pile of thinly sliced rib eye that’s been cooked sous vide for two hours to a rosy pink rareness. Chef Wesley Genovart tops it with tiny onion rings and a chopped herb salad of parsley, dill, cilantro, chives, and chervil, and then he paints the plate not with Cheez Whiz but with a few dabs of a foamy raclette-ricotta emulsion. In the typical haute small-plates fashion, it’s good for only three or four bites. And it’s so delicious, the UG recommends ordering at least two per sitting.— Rob Patronite and Robin Raisfeld
Degustation, 239 E. 5th St., nr. Second Ave.; 212-979-1012.