5 Small Bites on Melt Bar and Grilled:
- Amazing Selection – Even dirty vegan hippies can eat here
- Roll Out the Barrel – 100 different kinds of beer
- Waiting is inevitable – Well worth any wait
- Rack Up the Points – Weight Watchers doesn’t go this high
- Skip Dessert – Deep-fried Twinkies only sound good
I sit here to write about Melt, reviewing some notes and reading over their menu, I find myself salivating just thinking about all of the dishes I can’t wait to try next time I visit. For Pavlov’s dog it was a bell. For me its thirty different grilled cheese sandwiches with fresh-cut fries, homemade cole slaw and 100 varieties of beer.
Whenever my FSIL (Fake Sister-in-Law) Yvette comes into town it always makes deciding on a place to eat interesting. I love the girl to death, but she’s a hot damn vegetarian! Now, I can cope with a meat-free meal or two, but my old lady exists at the other extreme not eating any vegetables. It is never easy to find a place that both of them can enjoy, but apparently there is one thing that can bring these two diametrically opposed palates together: grilled cheese. If its grilled cheese that you want, there is only one place in Cleveland you need to go: Melt Bar and Grilled in Lakewood.
The three of us made it out to Melt last Friday somewhere near 7 p.m. and the place was absolutely packed. We had hoped to avoid some of the dinner rush, but considering the signs on the tables posting a 1 1/2 hour time limit on your meal, I’m guessing this place is packed all the time. With only 15 tables or so the seating is limited, so we accepted our hour long wait with a smile. There were people standing in every free inch of floor space, some waiting for a table like us and some just kickin’ for real style. Considering the length of our wait we decided to grab a few fresh pints to help us stay merry. I selected Cleveland’s finest Great Lake’s Christmas Ale and I relished every sip knowing that I was drinking what might be the best damn beer ever made. A case of said beer would make and excellent gift for your favorite Cleveland food blogger. (Michael Ruhlman is going to wonder why people are sending him beer.)
As we we waited and took in more of the festive atmosphere at Melt we began to notice all of the Tvs with Cartoon Network and the Cleveland sports memorabilia decorating the walls. I think we were becoming intoxicated from the aroma of the food that was continually passing us at nose level on a waitress’ shoulder. I was quickly snapped out of my high by another group of three that had arrived well after us being seated by the hostess. Bitch please. Before I could get out my notebook to make note of the grievance the hostess came over to explain that she squeezed those three people into a table for two and she didn’t think we would want to sit like that for dinner. Although she said it very politely, I knew that she was just looking out for the fat man and it was greatly appreciated.
Almost exactly one hour after she had told us that is what our wait would be, we were seated at a table next to the bar. Our waitress came to take our drink orders and present us with our menus that were pasted on 70′s album covers. I got Blondie. Before even looking, One Way or Another, I knew I was getting a grilled cheese sandwich. (What? That bad? I suck, I know.)
The variety of grilled cheese sandwiches offered by Melt is simply crazy. Take a look at their menu. And if you don’t like one of their established choices you can pretty much create your own with the myriad of additional toppings that are offered. Every sandwich comes with a serving of fresh-cut fries and coleslaw. Personally, my cheap-ass’ favorite part of the menu is the prices. Almost every Melt is under $10 and its more food than you can ever eat. I should say that its more food than you should ever eat, because you will eat it all. You’ll just feel like hell later because you got all caught up in the greasy goodness. Melt is not recommended for those attempting to watch their weight.
We started of our meal with Melt’s homemade Pierogies ($5.50), although we ordered ours with the Nappa Vodka Kraut on the side. They were spectacular, definitely old-world flavor, not like those chalky boxed imposers that tramp Mrs.T peddles. And they tasted great with the kraut which by itself was a little overpowering.
We finished the plate of pierogies off quickly and within minutes our appetizer plates were cleared from our table. That brings me to an important point. Our service at Melt was just fantastic! Our server for the evening was Erica and she proved many other reviewers of Melt wrong with her fabulous and friendly service.
Being an honorary Mexican (Raul en casa!) I chose the Chorizo, potato and cheddar grilled cheese sandwich ($7.50). It was huge and cooked perfectly. Although the thick slices of bread could allow the owners to get away with less fillings, they definitely don’t go that route. My sandwich was packed with chorizo and potatoes, busting at the edges the entire time I was attempting to make it disappear. The cool cole slaw was the perfect compliment to the greasy sandwich and fries, cutting right through their heaviness. Oh, and those fries! Hot and crisp, the perfect base for malt vinegar and salt. I honestly don’t know how I finished it all, but I did. I am quite the trooper. My compares were full as well, still happy too, just not as interested as I was in dessert.
The dessert choices at Melt are sparse, either fried Twinkies ($4.50) or cheesecake. Although it wasn’t much of a choice, I took some time deciding, more trying to trick the girls into joining me than anything (the story of my life), but I was going to be the only one moving on to the deep-fried snack cake course.
All I needed was one bite to tell me that I should have stopped after dinner. I’m not sure if they really were Twinkies or not, more like fritters with a coating of powdered sugar. The insides were gooey and unsatisfying. The accompanying berry sauce was so half-assed it still contained the seeds from the berries. The entire dish was a waste as far as I was concerned.
Although the dessert didn’t quite measure up, the rest of our experience at Melt certainly did. Even with two picky eaters, finding something everyone enjoyed was easy. The portions are huge and the prices are small, with food like that you can’t lose. Its rare for me to wait on hour for a table and be glad that I did, but Melt gave me that last week. Melt is the kind of place I would be proud to call my own. As Clevelanders we should all be grateful to have Melt here to enjoy.
Melt Bar and Grilled
14718 Detroit Ave
Lakewood, Ohio 44107
Tagged with: Cleveland Restaurant Reviews • Grilled Cheese • Melt Restaurant
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