Sunday, October 4, 2009

MELT Your Face Off

This past Tuesday afternoon I received a very promising text from Nicole. The proposition: dinner at Melt and a viewing of Away We Go. Sold.

I’ll say it right now: I love Melt. Love it. To the point where I’d consider going to Voodoo Monkey tattoo parlor and getting a Melt tattoo.


(A) a sandwich tattoo would be totally amazing

(B) getting it done at V.M. get’s you $25 off your tattoo fee


(3) your tattoo then gets you 25% off Melt for life.


But I digress. As I was saying, I love Melt, but the wait, usually in the neighborhood of an hour most of the time, is a little much even for the best grilled cheese sandwich you’ve ever crammed in your cram hole! But Nicole had never been, and neither Morgan nor I had been in a while, so we steeled ourselves for the wait with, wait for it... beer! And Melt is the place to do this, with twenty beers on draught at any given time and a healthy selection of bottled beers Melt’s a great place for a drink even after the kitchen’s closed for the night. The ladies both had Bell’s Two-Hearted--along with Sierra-Nevada arguably the two best IPAs in regular distribution. I had the Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA, by adding extra malt and hops and cooking the wort for an extra half hour, the 90 Minute IPA is everything a great IPA can and should be, but magnified times triplicate. (Try the 120 Minute, if you can find it, for a beer that’s like camping.)

The timing of all this worked out perfectly and we were seated almost immediately after finishing our beers. Another round on the way, more Two-Hearted for Nicole and a Great Lakes Brewing Co. Nosferatu for myself, we scoured the menu. Nosferatu, for those not lucky enough to be in GLBC’s distribution radius, is the brewery’s fall seasonal brew, a hoppy, high gravity stock ale that has coffee aftertastes. Delicious for sure, but at about 9% ABV it’ll knock you out, but quick.

The menu offerings at Melt are nothing short of amazing, along with their regular line up of fantastic sandwich creations, they also offer a bevy of seasonal specials, as well as a veggie of the day, interesting soups (what goes better with grilled cheese than soup?), and hearty looking salads. While the decision making process is never easy, it’s also difficult to be let down by Melt’s kitchen. When it came to crunch time here’s what we ordered: Nicole had the Big Popper, a serious sandwich crammed with jalapenos, cheddar, and herb cream cheese, the whole thing is then beer battered and fried up, Monte Cristo style, dusted with powdered sugar, and served with a side of mixed berry preserves. This is quite possibly the world’s perfect food, it’s spicy, it’s salty, it’s a little sweet and sour, and it’s all perfectly balanced, no one element overpowers another, plus it’s deep fried. Morgan chose one of my favorites, the Mushroom Melt, loaded up with garlic portabellas and provolone the sandwich can also contain caramelized onions in port wine reduction, simple but delicious, the garlic-y mushrooms and smokey provolone are balanced nicely by the sweetness of the aforementioned onions. Your humble author opted for the Chorizo and Potato, spicy Mexican style sausage and potato hash topped with sharp cheddar. Whoa Nelly! I know it seems simple compared to the other orders at out table, but let me tell you, this sandwich was simply perfect. First of all it contains chorizo, the world’s finest sausage, filled with hot paprika, chili bits, and garlic. This was then mixed into a perfectly cooked potato hash. The potatoes were firm but creamy, almost like bites of a great potato soup, then topped with a heaping helping of the cheddar. Melt's sandwiches can be a meal unto themselves, The kitchen doesn't stop there. All sandwiches come with a side of Melt’s hand cut fries, the perfect foil for plenty of salt and malt vinegar, and a crisp house slaw. Each trip to Melt for me has been better than the last and this was no exception, now if only the east side branch would open up already…

Some other highlights from the Melt Menu while we were there included the out-going special Soul Vegetarian, containing fried green tomatoes, vegetarian collard greens, jalapeno cornbread, spicy black-eyed puree, and pepper jack cheese. The incoming special is Mom’s Meatloaf, made like this: homemade beef and pork meatloaf, roasted garlic mashed potatoes, chipotle ketchup glaze and Muenster cheese!

Well fed and weary we returned to the east side after a few games of ski-ball-bowling at the Red Rose bar, also in Lakewood, and a few PBRs. Back at Nicole and Morgan's, we decided that we should at least make an effort to watch the movie, as that was part of the initial plan. Away We Go certainly stood the test of a few months and was just as good, if not better, on the small screen. I think the personal connections to the characters and the intimacy of the film are augmented by the smaller, more comfortable setting. Plus this time I got to see the hilarious opening bedroom sequence I missed the first time because my waitress took her time bringing me my check. While missing it certainly didn’t take anything away from the movie as a whole, it was a nice surprise! If you’ve yet to see Away We Go, it’s on DVD now, so there’s no excuse.


justin said...

i have been wanting to go to melt for a while. you talk about this place like i talk about hot doug's...

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