Melt Shop | 601 Lexington Ave. (at 53rd St.) | 212.759.5368 | |
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THERE HAS BEEN A LOT of talk of grilled cheeses as of late; I've been guilty of it myself, as I've been creating my own versions on the comfort food sandwich in honor of National Grilled Cheese Month (and, earlier this month, day), having them even featured on the Grilled Cheese Academy's website (here and here).

New York City very recently has enjoyed a (now-retired) grilled cheese delivery guy, three new grilled cheese trucks, and now, succeeding where America's Next Great Restaurant contestant MeltWorks failed, the opening of a real brick and mortar grilled cheese shop, Melt Shop.

So it was almost kismet not only to have them open shop (hopefully the first of many) in the middle of both Manhattan and the month of grilled cheeses, but, it was less than a block away from where I had just had fruitless job interview which rendered in need of being comforted.

Right down the stairs, off the corner of the block the hosts the Citicorp building, in a nookish, sunken corner, sprouts the shop.

Co-owner, Spencer Rubin, spent months trying to get his menu of over 40 different grilled cheese sandwiches down to a more manageable size, which know sports a nice variety to choose from. From a classic of American cheese on white, to the "elevated" fontina and goat cheeses with roasted wild mushrooms and parsley pesto, and familiar or unique options in between, I opt for the soul-restoring buttermilk-fried chicken with jalapeno jack cheeses with red cabbage and "melt sauce", with a side of Zapp's potato chips and an Arnold Palmer.

A an immediate mood-changer for the positive, the meal-sized, hot sandwich showcased the best of its ingredients and their harmony. Juicy, tender chicken, coated in crispiness nicely tinged with cayenne pepper, supported nicely by the aromatic jalapeno jack cheese, which as by its nature creamy enough when melted to slightly temper the heat, all heightened by crispy, vinegary red cabbage slaw and the proper crunchiness of the grilled, buttered toast to give every part of the mouth—every taste bud and tooth—something to enjoy with each bite.

I still find it odd that grilled cheese sandwiches had fallen so far off the food radar that there has been this suddenly ubiquitous re-celebration of most Americans very first comfort food. With places like Melt Shop (my own personal contributions notwithstanding), the grilled cheese "sammy" ain't going nowhere, except, hopefully, to another location near you...!

Bun Apple Tea!


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Melt Shop | 601 Lexington Ave. (at 53rd St.) | 212.759.5368 | |