Many food forecasters have said the grilled cheese is the “It” sandwich for 2012, and some even say it will overtake the burger. We’re not sure it could ever trump the burger trend, but we have noticed grilled cheese trucks, grilled cheese shops and food carts popping around New York. Chefs are dreaming up innovative and artisanal renditions with everything from 12-hour braised pulled pork to tuna on all sorts of bread, including biscuits.
I don’t know about you, but grilled cheese is one of those dishes that we often find difficult to fork over 1o to 15 dollars for. After all, how hard is it to grill cheese between two slices of bread? But one bite of the Oaxaca Grilled Cheese at Little Muenster had us singing a different tune. While it’s still essentially cheese melted on bread, the intense punch of flavor in each bite makes it much more. We wandered into this adorable Lower East Side shop recently for a grilled cheese fix. There’s a cheese grater chandelier hanging from the ceiling that owners Adam Schneider and Vanessa Palazio assembled themselves from 168 cheese graters, which is reason enough to visit. But enough about the lighting, we came for the grilled cheese.
Our favorite is the Oaxaca Grilled Cheese oozing with cheese and perfectly browned at the edges just the way we like it. One bite yields an ooey-gooey mouthful of stringy oaxaca cheese, sweet corn puree with tomatillos, and cotija cheese — the perfect balance of cheese and bread with a subtle kick. But that’s not all, there’s an entire menu of what the eatery dubs “super fancy grilled cheese” to consider, from the more traditional with white American singles, tomato and bacon to heartier options, like the sirloin patty melt with Vermont cheddar, gruyere, and pickled caramelized onions as well as the taleggio and fontina grilled cheese with crimini and shitake mushrooms. Expect to find these grilled cheese mavens at food festivals around the city this summer (with the possibility of a second location popping up, too!).
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RG Writer: Ali Baker