I was unintentionally one of the first people to try San Francisco’s newest grilled cheese restaurant, The Melt, AND I got to try it for free! The Melt (115 New Montgomery) is opening on August 30, but yesterday there was a soft launch with free sandwich and soup combos.
Yesterday, I accompanied my friend Amy to the art store at Utrecht and some random guy outside asked us if we were Academy of Art students (in his defense, we were holding giant things of wood). I thought he was trying to get us to join the gym and so I curtly said “no.” Then he said, “Oh, we’re offering free sandwich and soup combos to students now at Melt.” Free food??? Amy and I can be students for free food!
The menu is very simple with just sandwiches, soups and a few sides (cookie, cracker jack or fruit). Amy and I tried The Amsterdam (smoked gouda on 8 grain bread with spicy black bean soup) and The Mission (Jalapeno jack on sourdough and sweet corn tortilla soup). You can mix and match the sandwiches with the soups but The Melt has already conveniently “paired” the best soup to your sandwich. The cashier asked me if I wanted to add bacon, tomato, and other add-ons that I can’t even remember to my grilled cheese. I think the add-ons were free (this was not clear to me) and they asked if I wanted a cookie, cracker jack or fruit (still not clear if this came as part of the combination meal). Considering that I was on my way to eat dinner, I politely refused the add-ons and sides.
Our food came quickly and the grilled cheese was melted all the way through. Side note: I’ve been to the Toasty Melt Food Truck in SF and my sandwich was not melted all the way through. What kind of grilled cheese establishment doesn’t melt their cheese all the way? How hard is it when that’s the only thing you’re selling? I digress…
I LOVED THE SOUPS! The sweet corn was just how it was advertised– it tasted like sweet corn. Even though it’s a cream-based soup, it wasn’t overwhelming and not too rich. My spicy black bean soup was super yum too and had a little bit of a kick to it. I was really impressed with The Melt’s soup and I think that is what is going to set them apart from other grilled cheese establishments. Because I’m actually not a big grilled cheese fan, unless you serve a bowl of tomato soup with it. Then, I’m all over that sandwich like a fat kid on a piece of cake.
A sandwich and a cup of soup was reasonably priced at $8.95. I met the owner (and gave him my new MOO minicard), Jonathan Kaplan, who also is the man behind the Flip camera (R.I.P. Flip) and apparently, he worked with Chef Michael Mina on the concept. Jonathan actually gave me the last bite of his warm chocolate chip cookie and I had to admit, it was one damn, delicious cookie. I was impressed when he told me they bake all the cookies at The Melt (my guess is that they’re frozen/pre-made dough and they’re baked in-house; I’m not complaining because they’re still delicious). 115 New Montgomery is the first SF location, but Jonathan is planning on opening more locations in SF and also nationwide.
There wasn’t a lot of seating and it was mostly counter space. My recommendation to Jonathan was to install hooks at the counter seating so people could hang their bags and coats (cause us San Franciscans carry a lot of crap). He actually even took a picture of my purse hanger as I hung 2 bags and my coat on it.
I have yet to eat at American Grilled Cheese Kitchen in SOMA for three reasons: 1) It’s in SOMA and I can’t make it there and back on my lunch break; 2) I’m not the biggest fan of grilled cheese; and 3) It seems kind of expensive for what it is. So I can’t give you a taste-to-taste comparison of the two establishments, but I will say that I would go back to The Melt and I want to try more of their soups! Here’s to The Melt (and hopes that its lifespan will last longer than the Flip camera)!