Downtown Lunch: Champs Makes a Great Steak & Cheese
Midtown workers shouldn’t have all the fun, so to even the score, I’ve brought on Daniel Krieger as an official Downtown Lunch Correspondent to write up some of the tasty stuff you can get in the lower half of Manhattan. He’s a great photographer (insuring good food porn), but more importantly he is a lover of cheap, unique and delicious eats (or as I like to call it- Midtown Lunch’ish food.)
While standing in the long ass line last week for the ultimately wait-worthy Picnick BBQ, I met a few downtown worker bees and quizzed them to find out what their favorite lunches were in the Wall Street area. One guy said his favorite sandwich was the steak and cheese at Champs, and knowing my penchant for that particular lunch I was excited to try it out this week.
Although the address of Champs is 71 Broadway, and you can get to it through that entrance , the real entrance is on the corner of Trinity Place and Rector Street, so after circling the building from both blocks like a hunter circling his prey, I went in for the kill.
I ordered the steak and cheese of course, but had my dining companion go with “The Manhattan”, Champs’ signature sandwich consisting of hot roast beef and mozzarella served on garlic bread.
While the sandwich was decent, the taste of the roast beef didn’t bring to mind Sunday dinner with the family. It was more like the memory of a steam table at my dorm in college. Despite the interesting use of garlic bread, I wouldn’t eat it again.
The steak and cheese was outstanding though. They use top sirloin and the proper Philly style hoagie with a bit of a chew to it. The steak cooks up quickly and is chopped with onions and melted American cheese. (An authentic Philly cheesesteak uses cheese wiz but I say American is an ok substitute). The cheese, meat, and onions met together and had a beautiful threesome in that hero roll, for all to enjoy. The cheese liquefying from the heat and sticking to the steak and onions- I totally ignored the half of the roast beef I had been working on and devoted all my attention to the Philly. I realize why that worker dude was so into it.
It’s also a great deal at $6.50, while the roast beef was a bit more expensive at $7.50. Any sandwich over $6 comes with a small chips, cole slaw, or baby carrots (good idea if you’re eating steak and cheese). Next time I’m having a steak n cheese craving I would definitely head back to Champs.
Champs Gourmet Deli, 71 Broadway (on the corner of Trinity & Rector), 212-363-2100