I do not rave. I can't remember the last time I ever raved about anything. I'm tough to please. I had dinner recently at Bacchus and came away mighty disappointed.
My fear of raving is one of the things that has to be considered after my visit to the Melthouse Bistro, a new addition to the East Side. The restaurant, which is building its reputation on the grilled cheese sandwich, is located across the street from Beans and Barley.
They've only been open a couple of days but on a blustery, almost winter, night, we decided to give it a try.
And I'm in full rave about this place. It's clean and well organized and the people who work there seem to have smiles on their faces. It's a very nice vibe. They say that all their food is local, with an emphasis on great Wisconsin cheeses.
There are about 20 varieties of grilled cheese sandwiches. For kids, and for those who just want the basics, there's a basic grilled cheese sandwich served on white toast. If you want to add a bowl of tomato bisque, you have the makings of one of the great traditional meals of all time.
But once you decide to be a little adventurous the excitement builds. You need a little time to read the menu because the detailed descriptions of each sandwich take some time to understand. But it's worth the exploration.
There are lots of different cheeses with vegetables and surprising ingredients that make exciting sandwiches.
I had the Baconmoto, a classic with sharp aged cheddar, smoked bacon, very fresh tomatoes and an olive oil mayo that was surprisingly understated. The mayo didn't overwhelm the sandwich and I finished the whole thing with ease.
My wife had the Sergent Pepper (slightly misspelled) that featured pepper jack and cheddar cheese. Toss in roast cauliflower, red peppers and tempura fried onions on sourdough bread, and it was a feast, both for the eyes and the taste buds.
The sandwiches, which come in a variety of breads, were grilled crispy on the outside and softer inside, just the way a great grilled cheese ought to be.
If there is one suggestion I could make, it's that they don't have anything featuring a sharp brick cheese, which is one of the great and classic cheeses of Wisconsin. But that's a minor criticism and it certainly won't keep me from trying again.
Prices are moderate. You order at the counter and then they make the sandwich to order and bring it to your table. They've got a liquor license so there is beer and wine, but why anybody would drink anything other than milk with a grilled cheese is beyond me.
But milk or beer or soda, what you drink is almost beside the point. This place is more than worth checking out, time and again.
Yes, it is clean and the employees seemed cheerful. If you are specializing in cheese if might be good to actually have some on the sandwich. The one I tried had brie on less than 1/8 of the sandwich. I'm sorry, but this place is not rave worthy.
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