Not so long ago the humble grilled cheese sandwich didn't need a lot of explanation. White sandwich bread, butter, American cheese. Cook it in a frying pan, and serve it with a bowl of canned tomato soup. Every schoolkid and college student knew the recipe. Greasy, gooey, hot and delicious, it was the first thing my sister taught me to cook when I was barely tall enough to work a spatula and frying pan on the stove.
Enter the Godfather from Toasty Melts, and cue the Nino Rota score if you want. This thoroughly modern grilled cheese puts mozzarella, basil aioli, and prosciutto from Zoe's Meats together for a sandwich that your mother probably never made for a weekend lunch. The flavors are all fresh and vibrant. The aioli gives the sandwich a big basil kick, and the prosciutto brings just the right amount of salt, fat and savory flavor. The mozzarella is not the boldest of cheeses, but it does its job of marrying the sometimes chewy meat to the bread. And for an Italian-themed sandwich, there aren't a lot of choices for cheeses that melt.
Panorama bread. The sandwich comes with a small cup of Italian slaw.
The Organic Tomato Soup from Toasty Melts takes the classic grilled cheese accompaniment and puts a gourmet spin on it. The touch of cream and vegetable stock add depth to the soup and prevent it from being too tangy. There is a bit of peppery spice to it that makes it little overpowering as a dipping soup, especially for a more subtle sandwich like the Godfather. They make a spicier version, too, but the balance of this milder soup is just right. A few croutons take a swim in the red bath, adding a little crunch and heartiness to it. The soup is good. I mean really good. I would not hesitate to order it on its own.
And that's OK. The hamburger can stand to be topped with foie gras, edible gold and five kinds of goat cheese while still remaining a burger, but the grilled cheese sandwich is too deeply rooted in tradition to be so gussied up. So leave the basic grilled cheese to the home kitchen, and let me have a Toasty Melt in peace.
Rating: 3.5/5 (ratings guide)
Toasty Melts (@toastymelts) $7 for the sandwich, $3 for a cup of soup
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