Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Nothing good ever came out of Mentor, Ohio.

"First I was born.  Then the trouble begins."

So it isn't that I'm opposed to boutique grilled cheese restaurants.  I'm not.  What I have trouble with is them doing it poorly.

So while in Columbus, Ohio I went to lunch with my Father et al. at a place in the "Short North" called "Melt".  Wow, the Short North continues to change.  Pretty soon it will creep far enough north that it will meet the South Campus mall-like development juggernaut and there won't be any smutty parts of town left—and I can't get behind that.  The atmosphere was really just something that we should have let die in the 90s.

BUT ABOUT THE SANDWICH: Nice attempt, poor execution.  What went wrong?
Well, first there was the name.  "Kindergarden".  Just because it wasn't made with crab cakes or bull semen it is some sort of under developed piece of crap that lacks maturity?  Come on!  I'll tell you what, you have to master the basics before you paint like Francis Bacon.  And there is the problem.

The bread: too thick.  Cooked too quickly, leaving too much moisture in the center so that it totally collapses when you bite into it.  Not only that but the high temperature and nature of the bread lead to an unfortunate pattern of browning—a thin ring at the crust and a spot in the center with the space in between left underdone.  So for the most part there wasn't a good bite to the sandwich.  It just squishes. See, a good grilled cheese should have a slight snap when you bite into it—sort of like a fine hot dog, but less so—a quality entirely absent.

The cheese: Fine.  A bit too much.  It was a mixture of provolone and cheddar.  But where there is too much bread you'll usually find too much cheese.

Over all I just think we lacked refinement.  I think someone needs to spend a few months alone in a cabin in the woods with a loaf of white bread, bunch of "cheese" singles, and a fucking hot plate.  I know, it isn't exactly fine dining, but stripping down you it will teach you how to handle your materials in a more meaningful way.

I'm sure you'll hear more about my grilled cheese journey here.  For now I'll leave you with this thought:
Not perfect, but fair for 35¢.


  1. I liked the Melt I went to in Cleveland, but I guess that's what happens with expansion to other cities... either that or, most probably, grilled cheese is too simple a concept for a place that has Old Rasputin on tap. But the Melt Bar & Grilled in Cleveland is where I had my first Monte Cristo and I've been chasing the dragon ever since; no other establishment has come even close to mastering this sandwich like Melt has.