It was a rainy day. I had to go over into Midtown for a midday doctor’s appointment, and I’d just gotten some bad news. Walking down Lexington Avenue with tears streaming down ones face in the rain could be classified as not the brightest of days. Maybe I’m the only one, but there are certain foods I automatically associate with bummer days where you need a bit of cheering up. While some would have decided a puddle hopping day was one to skip the restaurant where you have to order from a window, you standing on the outside waiting for your food, I said no. It was so a grilled cheese day and I opted to finally make my way to Melt Shop.

Melt Shop - Midtown East

Melt Shop - Midtown East

I was torn as to what to order. My eyes were drawn first to the aged cheddar with maple glazed bacon on sourdough. Kind of like a dressy grilled cheese, because bacon’s like adding a suit jacket. Always makes everything fancier. I was also eying the buttermilk-fried chicken with jalepeno jack cheese, red cabbage slaw, and melt sauce on country white. Or maybe even the gruyere with smoked ham, pickled red onions, and whole grain mustard on light rye.

Three Cheese Melt & Tater Tots - Melt Shop

Three Cheese Melt & Tater Tots - Melt Shop

I finally decided those would be contenders for my next visit, as, oh yes, there will be another one for sure. Instead, I went with what I felt like was a more classic first selection – the triple three cheese melt. It was comprised of gruyere, fontina, and goat cheese along with homemade roasted tomatoes on sourdough bread. It was perfect. I don’t like it when the cheese comes out in three distinct layers. Instead, it was perfectly melted into the sandwich, where you could taste the flavors but one would quickly flow into the other. Just right. The bread was fresh and noticeable, yet not overpowering.

Tots, Ready for Their Close-Up

Tots, Ready for Their Close-Up

And, of course, I had to try the tater tots. The TOTS! All caps worthy, in my opinion. They were very fresh and not overly greasy. They were topped with a light sprinkling of pesto and served with what they refer to as melt sauce. It made me think of Shake Shack’s Shack Sauce, although I’m sure each would say they do not favor. Whatever. They surely both have some sort of mayo base, some sort of spicy seasoning, and something that is ketchup-y. And somehow even though I hate mayo, I loved this. So good. Usually I’ll skip fries, tots, whatnot. Just not necessary. Although here? My vote is essential.

Melt Shop Grilled Cheese – 601 Lexington Avenue (@ 53rd Street) – 212.759.MELT

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