The humble Philly cheesesteak takes two of my favourite things – steak and cheese – and puts them into a sandwich for easy consumption. What’s not to like?
Up till now my go-to place for Philly cheesesteak has usually been Rye Post in Itaewon, which does a more than serviceable version. American Mood may be better.
They are certainly all-in on the cheesesteak. The menu contains half a dozen varieties of this succulent meaty treat, along with some different kinds of topped fries and side dishes; but basically if you don’t like cheesesteak you are all out of luck, friendo.
I’d heard great things from a couple of people on social media, so with a couple of co-conspirators I headed to darkest Nonhyeong-dong and basically tried almost all of them, and went back a couple of days ago to try the remaining items on the menu.
The “classic” cheesesteak here is probably the White American or the Cheese Whiz depending on what kind of cheesiness you like on your sandwich. I liked the White American, despite the slightly weird name.
Tastes will vary. My own favourite was the provolone cheesesteak – this is the original cheese used in Philly cheesesteaks, according to some accounts, and it gives the sandwich a salty, sharp, almost blue-cheesy quality.
If that sort of flavour isn’t your bag, chances are there will be something that takes your fancy. There’s a bacon cheesesteak that is exactly what it sounds like. The Little Italy is basically a cheesesteak with some tomato sauce on top. And so on.
The Garlic Parmer is served up with a garlicky sauce and some powdered Parmesan. I didn’t care for this one, but a couple of my co-diners were sold on it – your mileage may vary.
The accompanying fries were fine but unremarkable, and the radioactive cheese melted over the top didn’t really do anything for me, as authentic as it undoubtedly was. But they are free with the sandwich at lunchtime, as is a soft drink (at dinner time, the same set is 3,000 extra, for some reason).
Better were the bacon ranch fries we had on my most recent visit – though there was an overly sweet sauce drizzled over the fries, the bacon and ranch balanced it out pretty well, and we got through these fries pretty fast.
We got a couple of complementary drinks, just because I think we had eaten everything on the menu. I got a loyalty card and it was filled up in just one visit.
The decor is quite funky and the whole place was a nice spot to while away a lazy lunch hour, especially in the summer heat. Service was friendly and efficient, and they have a decent beer selection.
Overall, I like American Mood. I wouldn’t necessarily travel across the city for it, and I liked some of the sandwiches more than others; but if you are anywhere near the area and fancy a cheesesteak, it’s well worth popping in.
- Category: American
- Price: $$$$
- Must try: Provolone cheesesteak (10,000 won)
- Subway: Hakdong Station (학동역) exit 8 / Sinsa Station (신사역) exit 1
- Directions: A little tricky to find, this one. Your best bet is to be able to read a map and simply look at the map below. If that’s no good, the best subway station is Hakdong – from exit 8, walk up the road until you get to the last turning on the right before the main junction, turn right, and then right again at the tapas restaurant. The address is 서울특별시 강남구 도산대로30길 20.
- Hours: 11:30am – 11pm Monday to Saturday, with break time from 3-5pm. Closed Sundays.