It kills me when a restaurant like Corelli’s puts enough love into its food to make it stand out among the hordes, but then ignores its customers.
Unlike perfecting the elements of a fine pizza, good service at a casual Italian joint comes down to simply noticing things such as long-empty glasses and diners who have been waiting 30 minutes for a check. If this months-old Gilbert spot can polish its observational skills, it could be something special.
Service: It’s a small place and not very busy, but the young crew is in need of guidance.
On my second outing, we wait 40 minutes for garlic knots — garlic knots — and don't hear a word about them from our waitress until half an hour after we’d ordered them.
On that same outing, our pizza takes 50 minutes. But the tall young man who made and delivered the pie apologized for the wait, which was nice.
He’s the most on top of customer service, even more so than the owner, who watches as our waitress sweeps the floor instead of giving us our check on our first visit. When we ask for the bill a second time, we finally get it half an hour after we polish off dessert.
Meal: The New York style pizzas are scrumptious, I’m still dreaming about the large Desert Special ($16.99). The white pizza with ricotta cheese has sweet sliced tomatoes, ham and white onions. It’s creamy, rich and delicious with just the right amount of garlic giddy-up. The crust is so crisp, I can hold a slice by the wide end and not have it droop.
The pie that took 50 minutes to make — a medium Manhattan Special ($15.99) that’s also very flavorful — did not come out as crisp as the Desert Special. I'm guessing crisp crust is the norm, though, and that this one was pulled from the oven a bit early to make up time. It’s loaded with pepperoni, thinly sliced sausage, mushrooms, onions and green peppers with a red sauce. Eating just one slice is tough.
The sausage roll, calzone-like but with a more bready dough, has a shiny golden crust with an Italian sausage link sliced in half as well as green peppers, onions and plenty of cheese. It’s good, especially for $4.50.
The Philly ($5.75) — one of a dozen subs — has perfectly shaved, marinated steak and a tasty toasted roll, but it needs more meat and cheese to make it rave-worthy.
The six puffy garlic knots are a steal at two bucks. But if I had to get something in the belly ASAP, I'd go with the crunchy wings (skip the salad: It’s a plate of white iceberg lettuce).
The cannoli has a thick cookie shell and is stuffed with the standard sweet, dense ricotta-based whipped filling dotted with mini chocolate chips.
Scene: It’s kind of warm. On one occasion the thermostat was reading 85 degrees. It’s all booth seating with a taxicab theme and TVs.
Bathroom break: Clean, one-at-a-time units.
If work weren’t buying: To-go customers trickled in on both visits, and I’ll be following in their footsteps until the service improves.
1614 N. Higley Road, Gilbert
Major cross streets: Higley and Baseline roads
Hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, noon to 8
Booze: Beer and wine
Health report: Not available
Kid friendly: Yes