“Get hooked” is the motto of Jeno’s Steaks in Severna Park. The slogan sounds almost like a dare — and I’m warning you now, dear reader, you are likely to get hooked on this delicious grub from the first taste.
I’ve tried Jeno’s Steaks before. The offerings were a delicious, savory refuge when I went through the misery of the Keto diet for one whole week last January (the horror!), getting me through the carb-less days with to-go containers of seasoned steak, sweet onions, soft peppers and creamy cheeses. I hadn’t been back in a while, so I was excited to head back as we dealt with the frustration of a coronavirus quarantine.
My husband and I placed a carryout order from Jeno’s on a Monday afternoon. The menu includes a lot of mouth-watering options of the heart-attack-inducing variety, but let’s be honest, who goes to a place called Jeno’s Steaks for a salad? There is one vegetarian option on the menu, but the overwhelming vibe of the cuisine can be classified as indulgent and satisfying. We just had to order a regular cheesesteak sub with everything on it, and we added a chicken cheesesteak sub, an order of Truck 23 fries, and a side of egg rolls.
It’s worth mentioning that the staff’s hygiene practices during the COVID-19 crisis were nothing short of impressive. The staff took orders over the phone and handed out bags of food at the door. They wore masks and gloves, which were changed between orders, and they wiped down and sanitized their screens after entering each purchase.
The food smelled so amazing that it took every bit of my willpower not to steal a few fries from the bag before I got home. The food, however, was worth the wait.
The cheesesteak sub exceeds what you’d hope for in this classic dish made famous by the City of Brotherly Love. The meat is well-cooked and has a good, chewy texture. It’s not shredded quite as thin as a few other local cheesesteaks I’ve had, but the meat is hearty and generously portioned onto a soft, warm Kaiser roll. We requested everything on the sub, which included cheese, lettuce, tomato, mayo, fried onions and red hot peppers. If you want fancier fixin’s (like mushrooms, jalapenos, special sauces or a fried egg) you can pay between 50 cents and $2 extra. The fixin’s we ordered were satisfying and added several flavor and texture dimensions to the well-seasoned, familiar favorite. The fried onions were especially delightful; soft and sweet and a perfect complement to the sizzling meat. We ordered this steak with the provolone, although you could also choose cheddar or American cheeses.
The chicken cheesesteak sub is also indulgent, with an entirely different flavor. Aromatic chunks of spiced chicken tasted great with the myriad of toppings. We ordered this one with the cheddar cheese sauce, which was creamy and melted nicely into the chicken and bread. The velvety texture and layers of flavor in this sub tickled the taste buds and left me licking my fingers and wishing for more.
It should be noted that the Truck 23 fries are more of an entrée than a side dish — they are not just loaded; they’re overloaded with large chunks of steak, soft onions, crispy bacon, spicy jalapenos, creamy cheese sauce, and sour cream. The fries themselves were similar to boardwalk fries, and I could taste the sliced potatoes under the layers of toppings. This is the salty dish you crave after a stressful day or a painful breakup — the kind of food that warms the heart and sends your tummy into a happy place.
The egg rolls offered a different, surprising flavor palate to the meal. Instead of fat, stuffed egg rolls you might expect in most Asian restaurants, these five rolls were thin, filled with mostly meat (pork and beef, although there are also some carrots and green onions mixed in) and crispy on the outside. They were served with a sweet, smoky dipping sauce that went surprisingly well with what was basically a fried cheeseburger roll.
There were a few things to complain about at Jeno’s. By the time I got home with my food and started chowing down, the bread was slightly soggy and so were the fries. The food was undeniably greasy (as cheesesteaks nearly always are), so it was hard to tell whether the food was already a bit too greasy or if the grease settled into it over the 20-minute drive home. It still wasn’t unpleasant, but if the sub weren’t wrapped, I would wager that it would easily soak through the bag. The second complaint is also mild: the staff mixed up our drinks and gave us a Coke instead of a Coke Zero, so my diabetic husband couldn’t have a soda with me. This is understandable, as the staff was operating in a difficult time period and taking extra coronavirus precautions, so the staff could easily have made that mistake.
The two subs, fries, egg rolls and two sodas came out to just over $36 and made for a great lunch. Look no further for a satisfying meal; Jeno’s is the place to go!