Three Rounds

“Chaque pain a son fromage”, meaning:  every bread has its cheese. I often used this French saying in a romantic context, to motivate my friends when a relationship went sour. Your cheese will come, I would say. My best friend usually followed with : “I love cheese! Where is my cheese already?!” Well, New York Grilled Cheese has it, at least in the literal sense.

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Hidden in Wilton Manors, New York Grilled Cheese (NYGC) is dedicated to grilled cheese sandwiches, evident through its name, with a casual and playful setting. The locale was once a frozen yogurt shop, therefore the restaurant maintained the open floor layout, as well as the bright colors. The room was consequently very inviting and appropriate for a variety of age groups. We even made friends at the circular bar, while we waited. The wait built anticipation and certified that this was NOT fast food.

My guest and I were bold enough to order three sandwiches for the two of us, which was a bit overwhelming to be frank. But being overwhelmed by food is just the type of overwhelming I like. Like my friend, I too adore cheese, but NYGC dares to add untraditional ingredients like sriracha, fries, egg and brisket to name a few. What a pleasant surprise! All sandwiches are waffle shaped, and served with a creamy tomato bisque. I could have enjoyed the soup solo, as it did not compare to the canned tomato soup served at your high school cafeteria. If it were plated in a porcelain bowl, it would have been suitable for fine dining.

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Grindr & tomato bisque

To return to the three sandwiches, we started with the Wall Street Grindr Award with cheddar, French fries, bacon, caramelized onions, garlic butter, fried egg, and dill pickles, served on a country loaf.  It was the perfect balance of crunchy and oozy. Despite the numerous ingredients, it was enjoyable until the last bite and was my favorite of the bunch sampled. I was astonished by the fries peaking out and by the fact that each ingredient fit perfectly. However, what brought the dish together was the soup. Dipping the sandwich in, almost led to hums from the heavens. I am not sure why I took so long to submerge my sandwich, but that bisque put mayos, aiolis, and sandwich spreads everywhere, to shame.

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The MPD

The MPD melt followed. Short for Meat Packing District. These words stress the sandwich’s hardiness with contents of American cheese, cheddar, beef brisket and caramelized onions. It was thick enough, yet refined enough to be a grilled cheese. Although the beef was a bit bland for my taste, it was a manly and packed melt. I was impressed by the view but not as much by the performance.

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The Yelp

The Yelp certainly put on show, however. I imagine it was named after the website and the filling lived up to Yelp’s popularity: fried chicken, sriracha, bacon, cheddar, muenster, and a pepper jam sauce. That sandwich led to a Kung Foo match in my mouth due to the flavor explosion. The crunch, the spice, and the salt woke me up immediately and led to a second bite, then a third. In fact, it may have been one of the most impressive sandwiches I have tasted, due to its complexity. Unfortunately, all great things come to an end, thus the martial arts session came to a halt. Perhaps my taste buds were exhausted. Midway through the Yelp, I felt the need to end the games early as the flavors became, excessive. I am shocked at my own words, as I am one who can never get enough. The Yelp was certainly delicious, but best enjoyed in smaller portions maybe.

I used a Belgian ale as an appropriate referee to these three rounds, from a choice of other craft beers and wines. Not to shabby for a grilled cheese joint. Thank you to my “cool” friend- you know who you are- for leading me to this hidden treasure, with gems all below $10. To all my sandwich lovers, a visit is a must!

I would like to introduce a scoring system to the blog, to help readers better understand my position. After each article, I will assign a score of 1-10 (ten being highest), with the possibility of half points when merited. This is not to be crude, but rather to summarize my opinion. Managing a restaurant takes hard work, and I would like to thank every establishment mentioned in Tasting It Like It Is, for its services during my visit.

 

Score- 7

Kristina

Decadent & Unpretentious

Dining and drinking lavishly in the evening is expected. Doing so in broad daylight is borderline delinquent, and that much more pleasurable. I had the luxury to experience a decadent lunch with a friend at The Foxy Brown in Fort Lauderdale, which set the stage for the rest of my week.

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Patio

I was drawn in at the sound of half priced wine bottles. We made our way to the Broward Boulevard niche, and called so because one is not quite sure of the purpose of the locale, with a drive by. Although the title was clearly stated and the restaurant sat on a highly trafficked road, it did not scream fine dining at first glance. There was also a sign on the sidewalk, reminding passer byes that it was open for lunch or dinner, but again, the facade was perplexing. In any case, upon arrival, we chose to sit outdoors, in a patio adorned with plants, yet facing the parking lot. The humble décor and intimate setting were fitting for lunch, but lacked personality. There was ample opportunity to liven the ambiance in an individual manner. However, the interior softened the look, by playing with oranges and browns, providing warmth. Overall, the décor emitted comfort and simplicity, which translated to the menu.

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Mussels

The choices were not extensive, but I wanted to order almost every item. We began with the mussels, cooked in a garlic curry sauce, topped with sautéed spinach and served with fresh garlic bread. Again the simplicity shined through, but as did the succulence. The garlic was used with rage, yet the flavor came through subtly. The sauce was not described on the menu, therefore it was a pleasant surprise, as I anticipated a traditional tomato broth. If it had been served with a spoon, we would have turned the sauce into a soup. Woops!

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Med. Dry Riesling

In the meantime, we had the opportunity to order a bottle of Riesling to share, at an unreasonably low price. The wine list in total was not extensive either, and the choices listed were not to please a connoisseur. I am no acclaimed sommelier, but most diners would find a wine to appropriately pair their meal with. Again, the beauty lied in its modesty.

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Lump Crab Cakes

Pour la piece de resistance, we shared the lump crab cakes with a five grain mustard sauce, and served with more sautéed spinach. The cakes were generous in size, in quality, and in decadence. The breadcrumbs were minimal, yet the cakes held together nicely. In addition, the buttery sauce further softened them, and rose the bar for lunches served everywhere in South Florida. Such a velvety dish typically emerges after sundown, but the boldness was much appreciated. As for the spinach, it was dressed with salt and pepper mostly, and lightly sautéed. Frankly, I was unimpressed by the side dish, but in a world of such rich foods, it felt right to eat my vegetables.

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Mac & Cheese

Speaking of richness, we also ordered a side of mac & cheese. It was baked and served in the baking dish, while toped with breadcrumbs. The yellow cheddar was distributed evenly and the use of elbow macaroni was appropriate. I had hoped for a white cheddar dish instead, but the mac & cheese complimented the crab cakes perfectly. The combination of these creamy dishes emphasized The Foxy Brown’s role as a comfort food kitchen, and at that, they had succeeded. I was comforted, if you will.

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White Chocolate Bread Pudding

To end things on a good note, dessert was a must. Our server recommended the white chocolate bread pudding, served warm. I am normally not a fanatic of bread pudding due to the texture, but to my surprise, this pudding was firm enough, yet tender enough. It was also topped with vanilla bean ice cream, caramel and crunchy pecans. The ice cream’s grade needed improvement; however the dessert as a whole was a perfect ending to our comfort meal. The white chocolate did not overpower, and the contrast in temperatures stressed the opulence. Lying on a hammock, following our meal, would have made it ideal!

In reference to endings, the check was absurdly low and the service had been delightfully attentive, which may serve as encouragement in becoming a regular patron. After the experience, I was able to connect the dots, in terms of the restaurant’s image. Perhaps the unassuming facade was deliberate, as were the color scheme and simplistic menu. Perhaps the unpretentious atmosphere was apart of the adventure, as were the balance in rich and healthy items. Definitely. Our meal had been so enjoyable that it came close to some of life’s dearest pleasures. It had brought joy to our hearts and a perpetual smile to our lips. It transformed our notion of lunch, emotionally and gastronomically.