Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★
One of my favorite things to eat is an authentic Philly cheese steak. The problem is finding one. Corleone’s in downtown Tempe is one of the few places in the east valley that makes a good Philly.
Corleone’s Philly Original comes wit’ whiz and grilled onions. I don’t like whiz, and you don’t have to eat whiz for it to be an authentic sandwich. American, provolone, and cheese whiz are all generally accepted as authentic cheeses. For me though, white American cheese is the only way to go, so that’s the what I went with, a whole Philly Original wit’ American ($8). They use a quality, thinly sliced rib eye. I was a little let down that they didn’t brown the meat up a little better. I wish they would have camelized the onions a bit more as well. Usually, they cook everything perfectly, but on this day, the owner wasn’t around, and the kids running the shop were some real jokers (the “cook” was playing drums on the grill with a couple metal spatulas; that was more than slightly annoying). The bread was very fresh, and quite similar to the Amoroso roll that is typical of an authentic Philly cheese steak. The cheese was very good, but there wasn’t very much of it. As expensive as the sandwich already is, I’ve decided I’ll just have to pay extra for double cheese from now on. If you like cheese, I suggest you do the same.
Pops got a whole Bada Bing ($8). It’s a chicken sandwich with bbq sauce, american cheese, and grilled onions. I tried a bite, and it was pretty good. I especially liked the chicken, which was a very thinly sliced breast (unusual to have breast meat sliced that way). The bbq sauce, which they say is homemade, wasn’t anything special, but who would expect a Philly steak place to make a good bbq sauce?
Corleone’s can be exceptional, but apparently only when the owner is around. I hope he’s there when you go, because he’s a riot. He’s from south Philly, and he’s got the accent and one-liners to prove it. I always find myself busting up laughing when I talk to him. If he’s not there, you could be in for a mediocre experience. Speaking of which, if I had another one, I would be tempted to lower my rating due to inconsistency.
Cool fact: on Tuesdays starting at 4pm they have a buy one sandwich get one of equal or lesser value free deal.
411 S. Mill Ave. #102
Tempe, AZ 85281
phone: (480) 966-8558
fax: (480) 966-2357
hours: M-W 11-10, Thu-Sat 11am-3am, Sun 11-5pm
Mouthwatering photos and many more reviews can be found at: www.chowdownphoenix.com