Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Tom + Chee

Tom + Chee is a gourmet grilled cheese and tomato soup shop. It currently has two locations, one on East Court Street in downtown Cincinnati, and the other just across the border on the levee in Newport, Kentucky.

I arrived in the area in the evening, and the downtown location was closed, so Newport it was! Add another state to my food adventure list!

Newport on a cloudy, rainy evening

Tom + Chee is the restaurant shorthand for tomato and cheese. Its Newport location was featured on the Cincinnati episode of "Man v. Food Nation" in mid-October. While Tom + Chee boasts over 20 gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches, it's their grilled cheese donut creations that help set them apart from other grilled cheese joints.

On my visit, I had to try the two creations that Adam Richman had. First up, one-half of the "Armagoetta" grilled cheese sandwich and a cup of their chunky tomato basil soup. The Armagoetta uses goetta, a sausage native to Cincinnati. Pork shoulder, steel-cut oats, and spices are blended together and slow-cooked. The resulting sausage patty crackles on the flattop. Using one piece of dark rye toast and one piece of sourdough, the goetta gets topped with pepperjack cheese, hot peppers, fried onions, and sweet hot mustard.

Menu (November 2011)
Menu of their Grilled Cheese Donuts and Daily Specials!

Armagoetta w/Chunky Tomato Basil Soup (Tom + Chee)
Cross-section of the sandwich
I loved the goetta; the oats give it a unique texture that I have never experienced with other sausage meat. While the other components worked well with the goetta, the main thing for me here is the perfect melting of the cheese. Also, just dunking the sandwich in the hearty, chunky tomato basil soup was virtually epic. Unfortunately, contrary to what was on the show, I did not get the contrasting dark rye and sourdough breads.

Next up, the Blueberry Blue grilled cheese donut! A glazed donut is sliced open bagel-style. The glazed ends are inverted, allowing the sugars to combine with mozzarella cheese, blue cheese, and their blueberry compote. This simple compote includes blueberries, cinnamon, sugar, and nutmeg. It really is breakfast meeting lunch here!

Blueberry Blue Grilled Cheese Donut (Tom + Chee)
The sweet blueberry compote prevents the blue cheese from being too overwhelming -- and even vice versa! I'd go as far to say that this was the quintessential yin-yang grilled cheese donut sandwich. I now know why Adam Richman went gaga over this one.

If you're in the Cincinnati area, be sure to check out Tom + Chee. Man v. Food Nation was spot-on in going here! 8.75/10

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