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Cooper Square

I wouldn't mention this place at all, but a certain sandwich needs to be talked about. I was at a birthday party at Leopard Lounge across the street, and I noticed James kept peeking out the window. I guess he was dreaming of cheesesteaks and looking for nearby options. Now New York isn't a cheesesteak city anyway. I'm not even sure where you get one during the day, let alone at 3 a.m. Short of driving to Philly (which was tossed around as a viable option), we decided to take our chances on the closest 24 hour place.

When I saw a "New York Style" steak sandwich my curiosity was peaked, yet I knew I was in trouble. Whenever someone takes a regional specialty and puts their own spin on it, you know the results will be mixed. (When I was home last Sept., Ringler's Annex had "Portland Style Cheesecake" on the menu, which was baffling. I didn't order it, but I wondered all night what could possibly be Portland-like about it. Filberts? Marionberries? Salmon?!)

The New York style sandwich came out open faced with thickish long pieces of meat on hamburger buns with cheddar cheese melted on both sides and some onions strewn about. There was too much meat to close the thing, and the pieces weren't thin like I'd wanted. And to top it off, they appeared to be suited for a hoagie bun, not a round roll. It disturbed me. The oddest part was the bottle of HP Sauce that was brought to the table as an accompaniment. Philly cheesesteak by way of New York with a pit stop in England? What kind of freaks do they have working in that kitchen anyway? I did like getting to dip my fries in the brown sauce, but it just wasn't the sandwich I was craving.

Cooper Square Restaurant * 88 Second Ave., New York, NY

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