at the Citigroup Center
601 Lexington Avenue
New York, NY 10017
(212) 579-MELT

Nestled at the foot Citigroup Center, literally under Lexington Avenue, is Midtown's newest food spot, and the lines that spread forth into the plaza clearly demonstrate that it's a much wanted addition. You can't even see the storefront from the street, but that hasn't stopped people from heading there in droves (note, the photo below was taken at around 2:30pm, well after lunch). Melt Shop is the name and grilled cheese is the game. I grew up with grilled cheese sandwiches, as did pretty much everyone I know. They were a staple of my childhood and they've come to roost right here on 54th Street.

The Melt Shop menu focuses on varieties of the original grilled cheese and they go way beyond the tuna melt, though they have that, too. Roast beef, fried chicken, gruyere cheese, caramelized onions... the ingredient list takes the grill cheese away from its humble country-fried roots and into the cosmopolitan hub of New York. But of course, you have to start with the humble, country fried roots. And thusly did I first try The Classic. White bread, American cheese, pan fried. It's exactly the same way mom used to make, except that they used salted butter. By the way, "exactly the way mom used to make" ain't a bad thing. It means perfect. Following that, I pimped it out by getting all the additions I could dumped into it. I'll term it The Classic (Plus), but I hope that they'll name it after me. The classic plus tomato, caramelized onions and bacon. A. Maze. Ing. I love this. Like the classic on steroids. Or ecstacy. Beef 'N' Blue: roast beef, blue cheese, caramelized onions, horseradish on sourdough. Very good. Tangy blue cheese, some nose twitching horseradish. It was literally, one of the best warm sandwiches I've had in years. Buttermilk Fried Chicken Melt: buttermilk fried chicken, jalapeno-jack cheese, red cabbage cole slaw and melt sauce (whatever that is) on white bread. While still pretty good, this was the least impressive. The chicken got lost in the slaw and sauce and spice of the jalapeno.

Melt Shop, while not "expensive" in terms of real dollars, is pricey from a relative standpoint. The sandwiches, before tax, are about eight bucks. A Stumptown coffee milkshake is $5.50. They also serve breakfast.

[ © Copyright eateryROW 2011 ]

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