Sunday, December 11, 2011

Melt Bar and Grilled

Melt Bar and Grilled is a dive bar serving up gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches. There are three locations in Cleveland: Lakewood (West side), Cleveland Heights (East side), and Independence (South side).

Melt is probably best known among non-Ohioans for having their "Melt Challenge" featured on the Travel Channel's "Man v. Food." While the MvF taping took place at the original Lakewood location, I ventured to the Cleveland Heights spot for my visit (since I happened to be in that area).

The place was packed as I entered Melt Bar and Grilled. The cashier (and souvenir stand) to my left, the bar straight ahead, and some dine-in seating behind the cashier. Glancing over the menu, I had zero idea on what to get...they all looked tasty.

To make my choice even harder, Melt was running a Thanksgiving-inspired special the week I was there: the New Bomb Turkey (mesquite smoked turkey breast, sage stuffing, roasted butternut squash, homemade turkey gravy, Muenster cheese on two pieces of sourdough, complete with a sweet cranberry dipping sauce).

The "New Bomb Turkey" looked amazing as well!
I opted to try the Spinach Pie ($8.50): a grilled cheese-concoction of wilted garlic spinach, roasted red peppers, grilled onions, and feta cheese in between two thick pieces of sourdough bread. It was served with fries and their sweet slaw.

One of my friends -- who lives in Cleveland -- said the wait for food could be brutally long. Perhaps I went at a good time, or maybe it's because I placed a takeout order -- but I got my food within 15-20 minutes.

Takeout menu

Loved the company sticker on the takeout container!
Spinach Pie grilled cheese, w/fries and slaw
(Melt Bar and Grilled)
The feta was the star for me here. Just that added saltiness from the cheese imparted an extra boost of flavor in this one. The sweet, peppery slaw is a lovely side dish for this grilled cheese, and the stubby fries were cooked well. There are a number of great grilled cheese choices here, and I found it hard to pick just one.

Of course, if you're real hungry, attempt the "Melt Challenge." A massive sandwich consisting of 13 different cheeses and three slices of grilled sourdough bread will leave you with a calcium surplus for the rest of the week -- not to mention you'll be sweating saturated fat from all that cheesy goodness. Over five pounds of food (including fries and slaw). There's no time limit, but no help and no bathroom breaks. Finish it all, and you get: (1) a Melt T-shirt or Melt pint glass; (2) a $10 gift card; and (3) your picture on their Melt Challenge Hall of Fame. In all likelihood, the record is probably held by Furious Pete (he even has a video on his YouTube account that shows him completely destroying the Melt Challenge).

Melt Bar and Grilled has great food and a lively atmosphere! If I'm crazy enough one day, I'll head back to try that Melt Challenge! 8.25/10

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