When we were getting our hair done and brows waxed at the local Aveda salon, J's stylist happened to mention that she had discovered a gem of a lunch spot called Melt in Lakewood. Their specialty is grilled cheese, something I am almost always happy to eat. Melt has scads of varieties, from The Kindergarten (basic American on Texas toast) and peanut butter and banana with sweet cream cheese to more exotic choices like the Spinach Pie (feta-based) and North Coast Shores (starring crab cakes and wilted garlic spinach with herbed cream cheese). This time around (and there will be a next time), J chose the Mushroom Melt and was rewarded with an enormous sandwich overflowing with lush portabellas, port-doused caramelized onions and provolone. I had the stellar and spicy chorizo and potato grilled cheese. Wow! Along with the sandwiches came a wonderfully simple cole slaw, lacking the revolting pool of sweet white juice that cole slaw frequently entails. Also, some of the best fries I've had in ages, deeply potato-y and just the right crispness. We had intended to save some of our appetizer, a bowl of the house soup, for dipping sandwiches into. However, the garlic & tomato concoction was too good to resist and had vanished completely, leaving only the taste of summer amped up with a shitload of garlic in our smiling mouths. Although I wanted to try the Guinness chocolate cake, it will have to wait. Half my sandwich more than filled me.
The full name is Melt Bar & Grilled, a testament to the 100+ beers available. The atmosphere is definitely more bar than sophisticated dining room...and is just right that way! A mixed crowd of elegant-looking older women, moms with toddlers and uber-hip twenty-somethings filled the small space, suggesting that early arrival on Sundays is crucial. From the Cleveland memorabilia on the walls to the kitchen implements embedded in a colorful glass window, everything under the vividly-colored pressed tin ceiling seems geared for a fun atmosphere. Menus are pasted on old LP covers (I was a bit chagrined to get stuck with Lionel Richie while my wife got The Ramones...life is just not fair sometimes!) and servers are punkish and friendly. My kind of place. www.meltbarandgrilled.com.