Location: 24 Ridge Pike, Conshohocken, inside the Whitemarsh Shopping Center
Phone: (610) 397-0272
Date visited: 05-08-2008, 8:00 p.m.
Rating: 2.5 out of 5
My dinner selection yesterday evening came on the basis of what was closest to the liquor store. In fact, I was walking to the grocery store, not even remembering that there was a Bravo's-type pizza place just before it. I figured I'd drop in for a first visit and maybe just a slice of pizza to go. It was about 8:00, and I was sure they didn't want to be bothered with an extensive order.
But by some stroke of luck, as I walked through the door, one of the cooks was chopping beef on the grill for cheesesteaks. Clearly I ordered one, with fried onions. And wouldn't you know, these kind gentlemen were thoughtful enough to give me one of the steaks they'd been working on when I walked in, so my wait time was about sixty seconds. Not too shabby. I dropped my change and a dollar into the tip jar and grabbed a menu on the way out.
Now, when I got into my car first thing that morning to go to work, the smell of fried onions still pervaded through my car, like some sort of intoxicating air freshener. This was because I visited D'alessandro's yesterday and ate the entire cheesesteak driving on Kelly Drive, probably leaving a few chopped onions on the floor or between the seats. Regardless, by the evening it had dissipated; and while my new sandwich stayed in its packaging the whole drive back to my house, it contributed practically no aroma to what still remained from my last cheesesteak trip. A bad sign; even inside the wrapping, you should be able to tell that there's a cheesesteak in the car.
I got home and tore into it, still steaming enough to make me slow down. It was disappointing in size, compared with other massive sandwiches available throughout Conshy. The onions were very thin on flavor; my friend Jon, who was over to drink with me and bore witness to my dining experience, suggested that the onions may have been undercooked. The book was not as dark as I like to see, but instead a questionable gray, probably from an excess of grease. It did not drip like a greaser, but the roll was soft and just slightly soggy. It was gone in under six minutes, and filled me up to a decent degree, but I could have eaten a lot more if I'd gone somewhere else.
Overall, the place looked good, with a fair amount of booth seating for an establishment its size. And the pizza, which sat in wait behind a glass panel at the front, looked amply sized and delicious. No delivery is available, and the name is extremely confusing; I went with Google's listing, but on CitySearch they're listed as Illiano's Pizza III. If you find yourself there, skip the cheesesteak and go for the pizza.