A couple of weeks ago, the Daily Melt began serving melty cheese concoctions and savory soups to the folks in midtown. The concept is simple -- and superb. After all, regardless of age, race, or income, grilled cheese is everyman's sammie.
Yesterday, Short Order stopped by for lunch to try a bite or two and gauge this new grilled-cheese-lover's paradise. With a menu chock full of provolone, Swiss, bacon, and truffle butter, what's not to love?
My lunch partner and I took to the counter, debating the myriad cheese choices. I went for a three-cheese melt (mozzarella, provolone, and cheddar) with truffle butter and extra mozzarella. It runs a shockingly cheap $3.50, plus 99 cents extra each for additional cheese and truffle goodness. Then, for $2.50, you can get the "full melty," which includes a soda and a "shot" of soup or a bag of chips. I went the soup route and chose broccoli cheese.
My companion opted for the bacon melt (roma tomatoes, spinach, cheddar, and bacon, $4.95) without the bacon. She also scored a roasted-tomato soup shot. The dude behind the counter was nice and knowledgable enough to inform us that it's cheaper to order the original melt (American cheese, $3.45) and then add tomatoes and spinach instead and sub cheddar for American.
We were a little shocked by his concern. They sure as hell don't make those kinds of suggestions at Subway -- or any other fast-casual establishment that I know of. For two people, our lunch was $15 and change. Those are fast-food prices, which is pretty amazing.
Some of the cashiers seemed a little flustered, presumably new hires who need a little more training. But no matter -- everyone was nice nonetheless. The interior is clean, pleasant, and accented with rosy reds.
I could have easily spent all day at the soda machine, creating my own multifaceted flavor concoctions. It's the rare Coca-Cola Freestyle machine -- a touch-screen soda dispenser that spits out a whopping 100-plus soda options. Sprite Zero with cherry flavor? Yes, please.
We took a table outside, where there are a handful of setups on the sidewalk -- perfect for people-watching the midtown hordes. The food came quick and hot, but my three-cheese melt was a little less than fully melted. It could have spent another minute on the grill.
I went for the soup shot first. The broccoli cheese was rich, thick, and flavorful. Next, my sammie. Super-rich, it had a thick, generously cheesy center and was intense and buttery and heavy on the truffle. Pretty delicious, but were it a wee hotter, it would have been epic. (On that note, I nuked half of it later at home, and it was perfection.)
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My companion loved the roasted-tomato soup but was less than impressed with her sandwich. I snagged a bite -- sadly, it was lacking in flavor. With sauce or a sharper cheese, it could have been spot on.
Our final assessment: For the price of a Big Mac Value Meal, you can score a cheesy treat, some home-cooked soup, and a drink. That's a pretty sweet deal in this city.
Follow Hannah on Twitter @hannahalexs.