Cheesesteaks, Pastrami and More at Philly Bilmos

Posted: April 8, 2011 in Restaurant Review
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As Blockbuster customers are aware, Blockbuster stores are closing at a very rapid rate.  Our local Blockbuster store recently closed, and we needed to find a new location… and the store we found just happens to be in close proximity to a new restaurant (or at least, one I had never been aware of):  Philly Bilmos!  This review discusses two separate visits at this extraordinary deli…

Location: NW Corner of SE 164th Avenue and McGillivray Blvd in Vancouver, WA

Order #1: 8″ Loaded Cheesesteak & TastyKakes

Order #2: 8″ Steamed Pastrami & Swiss (Pictured), Fries, Chocolate Chip Cannoli

What I Think:

I’ve never been to Philadelphia, but I have heard that it is THE place to go for authentic cheesesteaks (and sub sandwiches which are called “hoagies” on the East coast).   But, if the cheesesteaks taste any better in Philadelphia than these at Philly Bilmos – then if I ever do make it to that historic city, I am going to have to try one.   I seriously have never tasted a steak sandwich quite as good as this.

My “Loaded” sandwich ($7.50) was piled high with tender, juicy chopped steak, cheese, mushrooms, bell peppers and banana peppers.  The steak is so tender and delicious that it seems to melt in my mouth as I bite into the sandwich.  The bread was soft and chewy and lent the perfect contrast in textures to the tenderness of the steak and mushrooms, creaminess of the cheese cheese and slight crunch of the bell and banana peppers.

The cheese is so melt-y and creamy on these sandwiches that it becomes more like a sauce than a cheese.  Delicious!  But these yummy cheesesteaks are NOTHING compared to the Pastrami sandwiches. 

But then… I have a long-time love-affair when it comes to Pastrami.  My father used to take me to a place called “The Little Pickle” in Southern California, and the memories of those pastrami sandwiches piled high with steaming hot pastrami and cheese and pickles are quite dreamy, and are possibly what started me on my journey as a foodie.  A good pastrami sandwich is the first food I can remember loving, and since that time, I have been searching for a pastrami sandwich that rivals those memories… and I think I have finally done that with the Steamed Pastrami and Swiss ($7.75) at Philly Bilmos.

The Pastrami was tender – like fall-apart tender – and loaded with peppery spice.  The bread was the same bread used on the cheesesteak (Amoroso Bread) and again provided an excellent texture to the pastrami.  NEAR PERFECT, this pastrami sandwich.  My one complaint is that the pastrami was just a little too salty.  But, it wasn’t so salty that I found it off-putting… even with the saltiness, it was still quite spectacular.

The french fries from Philly Bilmos are quite remarkable too.  A small order of fries is $1.25 and makes the perfect accompaniment to either sandwich (although now that I’ve tried the pastrami, it will be difficult for me to order anything else!)

They even offer TastyKakes, another “East Coast” only treat.  I must admit these soft, moist cupcakes put Hostess treats to shame and probably shouldn’t even be grouped together in the same sentence.  Their cannoli with chocolate chip filling are also quite yummy (and just $5.00 for two cannoli) but for my money I think I’d go with the TastyKakes if I want to end my meal with something a little sweet next time.

My Final Thoughts:

If you’ve longed for a really good pastrami sandwich (or a cheesesteak) but haven’t been able to find one here in the Pacific Northwest … search no further.  The good stuff is at Philly Bilmos!

Philly Bilmos on Urbanspoon

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