Em suggested that we meet for lunch, "There's this great new spot, in between both of our offices, called Melt Shop. I won't take 'no' for an answer, Missy." After looking at the menu online, there was no argument. Grilled cheese did, in fact, sound pretty damn good. We settled on a 1 p.m. lunch date.
Located in the outdoor plaza/courtyard merely steps from the E, M, and 6 subway lines is a random take-out window that appears to have been built in to one of the retaining walls. The only article differentiating this particular kiosk from its neighbor, Dunkin' Donuts, is a bright-yellow awning that screams, "Melt Shop." Well, that, and the winding, snake-like line of hungry Midtown employees patiently waiting their turn to order a grilled cheese sandwich.
Having perused Melt Shop's menu prior to my arrival, I already knew exactly what I was going to order. No questions asked. While Em chose the Three Cheese Melt, I stayed old-school: homemade lemonade sans ice, homemade tomato soup, and "The Classic" grilled cheese (plus two optional additions, a sliced tomato, and caramelized onions).
After we placed our orders, Em and I stepped to the side of the long line and gathered napkins and condiments. The woman who took our orders informed us that our names would be called once our meals were ready. Not seven minutes later, our eyes lit up as "Emily" and "Lindsay" were yelled simultaneously. We grabbed our respective orders and headed towards the public indoor seating.
The homemade tomato soup — imagine everything that Campbell's condensed soup isn't — vibrantly bright-red in color, slightly chunky with the occasional tomato seed, and a broth naturally sweetened by the hands of god. This soup was definitely worthy of a slurp and a dunk, but would have been much better had it been slightly more seasoned with salt.
Homemade lemonade: pulp-free, tart, tangy, sweet. It was the perfect 'ade to wash down a hefty grilled cheese sandwich. Next time, I plan to sample Melt Shop's Arnold Palmer (for the uninitiated, that's an even mix of lemonade and iced tea).
"The Classic" grilled cheese: melted American cheese, caramelized onions, and a thick tomato slice were sandwiched between two slices of heavily-buttered white bread. The result? A masterpiece. This is the type of sandwich where when you take your first bite, you can literally hear the crunch of your teeth sinking in to the toasted, buttery bread. A river of warm, gooey American cheese, paired with equal amounts of tomato and caramelized onion followed. Fireworks exploded. Rainbows appeared. Music began to sound in my ears.
If you think, for one second that I left so much as a crumb of my sandwich, then you obviously do not know me very well. After this meal I told myself that a grilled cheese, some tomato soup, and lemonade were a semi-sensible lunch. Heck, I could have ordered Melt Shop's tots with Melt sauce instead of the soup, right? That would have been further nutritional suicide, right? After my mind's diet-angel and ravenous-devil came to a happy medium, I was thrown a curveball in the form of Melt Shop's sweets menu. I made the mistake of asking for the flavors of their homemade ice cream sandwiches. Two words were all it took for me to succumb to complete diet derailment: SALTED. CARAMEL.
A homemade *salted caramel* ice cream sandwich, you say? I don't give a damn how fat or skinny I am, there is nothing, I mean NOTHING, that will ever stand in the way of me and salted caramel. "One of those, please!" I exclaimed to the cashier.
To be honest with you, I went back and forth about whether or not to post this particular dessert segment. Why? Because this ice cream sandwich was so f**king incredible, that I sort of wanted to keep the "secret" to myself. Seriously.
But I'm nice. An inch-thick slab of extra-salty salted caramel ice cream was sandwiched between two handmade brownie wafers, or what was probably the result of cutting a brownie in half. Regardless, it was dynamite. Apparently, these sandwiches are procured by a local bakery called Melt. No relation to the Melt Shop.
In conclusion: GET. THERE. NOW.