When I was a little girl, one of my favorite meals was some warmed up Campbell’s Tomato Soup with a grilled cheese sandwich, cut into two equal triangles.
Sounds simple enough, but the art of a perfect grilled cheese is no easy task. Each slice of white bread has to be buttered and grilled to produce a fragile balance between crispy and soft, while simultaneously melting the American slices in the middle to their entirety. If the bread is burnt, or the cheese isn’t melted, the sandwich is ruined.
So when the craving hit me this week, I went out in search of that perfect grilled cheese. What I soon found out is that, in Bed-Stuy, grilled cheeses are an art, ranging from classic to classy, with various fillings and so on. I found my perfect grilled cheese, but I also found a grilled cheese stuffed with fried plantains, something I didn’t even know existed.
5. Brooklyn Stoops
Brooklyn Stoops actually has a section of their menu dedicated to different grilled cheeses, with different types of cheese or additional ingredients like pesto, tomato, or red peppers. I got the three cheese grilled cheese, a stringy but delicious mess of muenster, swiss, and provolone. The wheat bread is a little soft for my liking, but I loved the thick layer of melted cheese. Great choice at $4.
This diner on Throop Avenue offered exactly the grilled cheese I was originally looking for. The two slices of white bread were perfectly browned, with a buttery taste, and nestled in between were two slices of American cheese, gooey and melted but contained. The classic for $2.25.
3. Stay Fresh Grill and Deli
This new deli and grocery just opened up on Broadway and has an impressive array of cafe style foods, and wins the best-bang-for-your-buck award, with a crispy grilled cheese at only $1.75. The cheese melted nicely in between two slices of hearty rye bread, adding a kick of rye flavor to each crunchy bite, and delicious when paired with salty American cheese.
2. Bedford Hill Coffee Bar
For a more exotic grilled cheese, try the herbed grilled cheese at Bedford Hill on Franklin Avenue. The sharp cheddar is lightly melted with a fresh, creamy goat cheese and herb spread on top of 7 grain bread. Much lighter and fresher than your classic grilled cheese, this is a great alternative at $4.
1. Pilar Cuban Eatery
This grilled cheese is an entirely unexpected burst of flavor, filled with sweet fried plantains, espresso mustard, and Vermont cheese on thick multigrain bread. Try it before you judge, it is delicious! The thick bread is grilled and pressed like a panini, and the cheese overflows from the sandwich and fries on the outside (I love it when that happens). Each crunch of crispy bread is softened by luxurious sharp cheddar and sweet plantains. The espresso mustard adds a spice, but also a noticeable sweetness. While a tad more expensive at $6.50, this sandwich is a great savory dish for someone with a bit of a sweet tooth.