Friday, May 6, 2011

Cleveland's Melt Bar & Grilled Lives Up To Its Reputation

Eric and I have been bonding this week.  He chases me around the house when he gets home from work.  I like that!

      My only request while visiting Cindy and Will was to visit one of the top restaurants in the Cleveland area. (In this case, "top" meaning casual dining.)  So, we went for the favorite and visited Melt Bar & Grilled in Lakewood, the number one pick on Urbanspoon's website.  The two of them had heard the wait can be tremendous so we headed out on our 40 minute ride to arrive there by 11 a.m. for the lunch opening.  There were a few people standing out front when we drove past a few minutes before 11.  We parked in the back lot and went in the rear entrance to a wild collection of memorabilia and kitsch.  

Entrance and Shop at Melt in Lakewood, OH
Bar with Lighted Holiday Figures
      The restaurant was sparsely filled when we arrived.  Had the hype worn thin?  We were greeted by our server, Leah, who had both a sense of humor and a vast knowledge of the offerings.  The menu is printed on the backs of various record albums and it can be intimidating with its variety and descriptions.  I had viewed their website and immediately went to the Westside Monte Cristo.  It's my favorite sandwich, so my decision was made.  Cindy chose the Smokey Russian and Will the Gyro Melt, a new menu addition.  All sandwiches are served on fresh baked bread with hand cut fries and sweet slaw.

Westside Monte Cristo
Smokey Russian
Gyro Melt

     After ordering we sat back and took in our environs.  It was getting crowded, really crowded.  The kitchen was humming with the chef overseeing an abundance of orders from eat in and take out guests.  Our wait seemed a little long, but we didn't mind.  This was obviously a place for locals and we were entertained.  Once we were served, our expectations were exceeded.

The generous portions were more than we could handle.  My immediate reaction was that I needed a take out box as I was here for dessert too!  There was silence as we took on our platters.  No news is good news, and in this instance the news was a resounding "really good".  My Monte Cristo was one of the best I have ever eaten.  Cindy found her interpretation of a reuben with turkey, napa vodka kraut, and gouda cheese to be rewarding.  Will was busy devouring the gyro ingredients transformed to a conventional sandwich.  It was a big thumbs up!  We were broken with our vote on the fries.  Those are always a hard decision as fries are many things to many people.  My best description would be that they were a regular cut and heavily seasoned.  The slaw on the other hand was a clear winner.  Leah returned and asked what we thought of our first visit. You already know what we told her.  She said that she's only had two complaints.  One was that the fish tasted fishy, and the other was that the blackened chicken tasted burnt.  Go figure!

Thin Mint Bread Pudding
Red Velvet Cheesecake
      Cindy and I had half of our meals packed up and Will and I were ready to move on to dessert.  I had my eye on the fried Twinkies, but we asked Leah for recommendations.  She suggested the seasonal bread pudding made with thin mint cookies.  I asked about the Twinkies and she highly urged that I try the daily selection of red velvet cheesecake.  They're made by a local guy from Brooklyn.  Enough said.  The bread pudding was richly flavored by the Girl Scout favorite and served warm with vanilla ice cream.  The cheesecake was so pretty and creamy, I can't even begin to describe it.  Again, I needed a take out box.  

      I'm going to out on a limb and say that anything you order at Melt will be exceptional.  You can even start with a basic grilled cheese and do add-ons to create your own original sandwich.  The service was friendly without being overbearing and, as I observed, each server truly cares about your individual satisfaction.  Definitely go for the food but also enjoy everything about this place.

There are two Melt locations, Lakewood (our choice for that day) and Cleveland Heights.
Melt Bar & Grilled on Urbanspoon

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Nice review Neil. Next visit: Parmageddon! c