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July 29, 2008

Top Ten Great Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

OregonGrilled.JPGWhen I said if I got enough suggestions under my post on elite grilled cheese sandwiches I would make a Top Ten list out of them, I never thought it would actually happen. But here it is, with some help also from Midnight Sun Sam Sessa.

I figure it's a good counterbalance to the effete snobbery of last week's Top Ten on great restaurant cheese plates. Take heart, Jonathan Gilbert and Donny B. (For those of you who don't know what I'm talking about, you can find their comments under the previous Top Ten post.) Oh yes, and Trouble's under the breakfast sandwich post.

Also, special thanks to Retired in Elkridge for making the suggestion in the first place, even though he had to drag me kicking and screaming because I didn't think any places around here were making elite grilled cheese sandwiches. 

PS: If anyone knows the name of the "hole in the wall" at the corner of Eastern Avenue and Haven Street with a great grilled cheese sandwich that Eve mentioned, please post below. 

Here's the list: ... 

* Atwater's in Belvedere Square. This is only on the menu regularly in the fall but they will make it for you if you ask. Carr Valley Baby Cheddar on homemade country white ($4.50)

* Cocoaccinio's in Pikesville. Cheddar, feta and avocado on 12-grain bread ($5.95)

* Copra downtown. "Jason's Double Decker Griddled Cheese" with Wisconsin cheddar and Provolone ($6.95). You can add more cheese for $1, Applewood bacon for $2 and a mug of soup for $3.

* Donna's, Village of Cross Keys. grilled cheese, bacon, Granny Smith apples and a cup of tomato bisque ($12.95) Usual disclaimer: Donna is a friend of mine; however, joe suggested it.

* Grill Art Cafe (1011 W. 36th St.) in Hampden. The Spiced-Up Grilled Cheese with cheddar jack, tomato, red onion, banana peppers and fresh cilantro on cheddar jalapeno bread ($5.95).

* Main Ingredient Cafe in Annapolis. Grilled provolone, cheddar, tomato slices and honey mustard on your choice of wheat or white ($7.50)

* Oregon Grille in Cockeysville: Portobella mushroom, provolone and Boursin on rustic white bread ($9)

* Rocket to Venus in Hampden. Smoked gouda, American and Swiss on baguette with Bloody Mary sauce ($7)

* Tark's Grill in Lutherville. The Great American Grilled Cheese with bacon and tomato, side of fresh fruit ($7.95)

* Victoria Gastro Pub in Columbia. Lobster grilled cheese with Brie and Maine lobster ($15). 


(Photo of Oregon Grille's sandwich by Amy Davis/Sun photographer) 

Posted by Elizabeth Large at 4:44 AM | | Comments (47)
Categories: Top Ten Tuesdays


Well now I'm going to have to drive by and see but I'm pretty sure that's what they like to call a 'gentleman's club'.


Chef Wolf at Charleston has also done a take on grilled cheese & tomato soup. Was wonderful. :)

4025 Eastern Avenue, at the SW corner of Eastern and Haven, is the location of Eastern Corner Carryout. Perhaps that's the place Eve praised?

Sorry, but I have to disagree with Victoria's Gastro - I've had the lobster grilled cheese there and it was far too messy and the brie sauce was too overpowering. Good idea though!

I just thought - would you include the Croque Monsieur at Petit Louis?
It is just wonderful!

Grilled Cheese is always satisfying!

My feeble brain is trying to imagine going to Charleston, which by definition is a big night out, and then ordering grilled cheese and tomato soup. Somehow I just can't picture anyone over the age of 12 doing this.

A grilled cheese is diner food, but not one diner is listed here. So speaking of the effete snobbery, hon - you are evaluating a working class staple at the yuppie venues.

It was a little joke. EL

Well, grilled cheese sandwiches don't quite gross me out as much asraw cheese plates.

But you realize EL, now that you did a top 10 grilled cheese sandwich list, the next list natuarlly should be the top 10 places to get the tomato soup that goes with it.

Believe it or not, Ocean pride in Lutherville (of all places) has an EXCELLENT griled cheese (with or without a slice of tomato). It's actually a "grilled cheese and bacon", and it's fantastic to eat after a long binge of drinking the night before (usually at Ocean Prise).

It Goes even better with a a nice fresh bloody mary to wash it down, followed by a plate of oysters to slurp down.

It is indeed the world's BEST cure for a hangover.

Joe Schmedlack raises a good point. Why do fine dining establishments try to "upscale" diner food?

(I've never quite understood designer blue jeans, either.)

Francesca said: Well now I'm going to have to drive by and see but I'm pretty sure that's what they like to call a 'gentleman's club'.

That's at Haven and Lombard, not Eastern.

The Ultimate Grilled Cheese at Mick O'Shea's is phenomenal. Artisan bread, three kinds of cheeses, onion, tomato and bacon. Heavenly.

I just don't get out enough to waste a restaurant visit ordering grilled cheese, but they all sound so so good! There's nothing like grilled cheese for comfort food is there? And with bacon, well that's just bliss! (unless you don't like cheese - sorry Donny B!)

How could you leave out Cafe Hon, which has the most addictive, bright orange grilled cheese in town?

Well, read my original post, which mentions it. These are supposedly elite gilled cheese sandwiches. EL

The Charleston grilled cheese sandwich involves truffles and some kind of ridiculously fancy fromage.

I called there once to ask if they would let me take it out from the restaurant. The hostess said "It's up to Chef. I can ask Chef and see what Chef will do."


Then she asked for my name and number, which would have blown my cover. So I thanked her and "Chef" and hung up.

I think Eve is talking about G&A Restaurant. And ironically enough, they were on Food Network last night on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives.

Paper Moon's grilled cheese has always been one of the best, although I wish they would revert back to regular fries instead of curly fries---heartburn city. Beloc Diner on Loch Raven Blvd. boasts a true diner's delicacy. Grilled Cheese is probably my favourite food of all time, definately in the top five.

There's something about the basic, greasy sandwich from Field's in Pikesville- so yummy! My Bubbie would always take me there as a kid.

My only visit to Charleston was in 2003. My in-laws took us the night before we got married. None of us ordered it, but on the menu that night was a pork and beans dish with grits. I think they wanted like $30 for it.

It makes me wonder how much "chef's" grilled cheese goes for.

Carried Away Gourmet in Bel Air has a grilled cheese sandwich on their "specials" menu and they have a different one on their regular menu. Both are fantastic!

How could you possibly leave out the grilled cheese sandwhich from our youth at the University Supply Store in Tennessee. Recipe: One slice of Kraft American and mayonnaise on "nasty light bread".

Cost: 15 cents.

Absolutely delicious.

Can someone explain why you would go to restaurant for something you can make at home in just a few minutes and for next to nothing cost wise? Maybe this should be listed under the recession item. When I dine out it is for things I either can't make home (brick oven pizza, chargrilled hamburgers, fresh brewed beer) or choose not too because of the time and effort involved (home made stuffed pasta, braised lamb shanks, deep fried anything). Take two slices of bread, a little butter, a slice or two of cheese, slap them into a nonstick skillet for a couple of minutes and you have grilled cheese. As I said above I just don't get it.

@jenifer-WOW! What memories! A grilled chese sandwich followed by a Snoball! If you ask me this American classic is bastardized just like the poor bagel! Everyone makes their own version but if it isn't white bread and processed American "cheese food" (maybe a slice of tomato and a few strips of bacon) it isn't "grilled cheese"

Elite Elephant Man, it is even easier than that. Two slices of toast with a liberal layer of Cheese-Whiz in between. No muss. No fuss. No skillet to wash.

The raison d'être for this thread IMHO is for lunch, a meal many in the Sandbox don't eat at home. Yes making a grilled cheese at home is really simple, but that's not the point either. As a foodie, maybe you're out to lunch (well not that way) and want something interesting. So, who makes a great grilled cheese sandwich?

Forgive me, I was wrong. If I wanted something, cheap, bland, and easy to consume, I would subscribe to The Sun.

"Elite Elephant Man, it is even easier than that. Two slices of toast with a liberal layer of Cheese-Whiz in between. No muss. No fuss. No skillet to wash."

YUK! That sounds disgusting!

Since I brown bag my lunch I don't think about a quick lunch and then back to work.

Since it was asked:

I'll offer 8 reasons (plus a gratuitous comment) why someone might want to order a grilled cheese sandwich in a restaurant rather than make it at home.

1) I enjoy eating in restaurants and a grilled-cheese sandwich is an affordable option.
2) I'm looking over the menu and suddenly nothing will do but a grilled cheese sandwich.
3) I think food is always better when someone else makes it.
4) It's 92 degrees outside and 82 degrees inside my apartment
5) I just don't want to bloody make a grilled cheese sandwich, just don't, no matter how easy it is.
6) I'm at Charleston and knows that Cindy Wolf's take on the classic grilled-cheese & tomato soup will be delicious, surprising, memorable, and worth it.
7) I believe that a good basic grilled cheese sandwich is one of life's simple pleasures, in or out of a restaurant
8) I believe a wacky, pretentious, preposterous, updated foodie version of the classic grilled cheese is a sophisticated pleasure
GC) I understand entirely why someone else might not feel the way I do, which is more than I can say for some people.

"Two slices of toast with a liberal layer of Cheese-Whiz in between."

Sorry--that is NOT a grilled cheese sandwich! I'l refrain from calling it a crime against humanity.

Ned....Ocean Pride ? Unless I have a strong desire for a plate of dysentery, I avoid that dirty pigpen altogether. Do you work there ?

Something is wrong here. Only two of the ten have Bacon standard, and one more has Bacon optional. I object! The Elite obviously discriminate against Bacon.

Two slices of toast, with a liberal layer of Cheez-Whiz and six slices of bacon in between.

Oh Whiz-inator I love you!

Even given the fact that I don't think you should subject Bacon to the Whiz. (No doubt it makes the Whiz better, though).

The only time I use the Whiz is to replace the no-longer-sold Kraft jalepeno cheese roll that is required to make the famous Spinach Madeline. I add fresh jalepenos to the Cheese Whiz and it's the closest you can get. We always have Spinach Madeline at Thanksgiving, it's a nice spicy foil to the turkey.

Ikebana I take that as shot at me. I asked for a reason you gave me eight. I still won't be ordering a grilled cheese in a restaurant but I do understand now why some people do.

I was discussing this with my wife and we concluded that just like adding meat to mac and cheese makes it a casserole not mac and cheese the adding of meat or vegetables to a grilled cheese makes it a grilled ham and cheese or grilled bacon and cheese or grilled portabella and cheese but no longer a grilled cheese sandwich.

The Oregon Grille is probably the best bargain for lunch, go there on wednesday and it's only $5, must sit at the bar but thats not too bad either

There's something about the basic, greasy sandwich from Field's in Pikesville- so yummy! My Bubbie would always take me there as a kid.

Jenifer, what (or who) is a Bubbie?

Carol in Hampden -- "Bubbie" (which can also be spelled as "Bubby", "Bubbe", or "Bubbeh", all rhyming with "cubby") means "Grandmother" in Yiddish.

Elite Elephant Lover --

Yes, that was for you. I think you responded with admirable restraint :-)

Durf....I've never had a bad experience at Ocean pride ever. I don't get there much these days, but I was there three times last year and was amazed how great the expansion of the bar area looked. I thought it was as good as ever, and apparenbtly so did a ot of other people as it was very corwded each time I went.

And yes, their grilled cheese and bacon is very satifying, I used to order two of them.

Ned, the one and only time that I was at Ocean Pride, I had the companionship of a cockroach at my table. Ewww.
Jenifer, my Bubbie used to take me to Fields too! I was a tuna on toast girl though. I didn't appreciate a good grilled cheese (with bacon) until I was much older!
And, Bacon Girl, I must add that tonight's dinner featured bacon crumbled into butter and slathered on canned greenbeans giving them that cooked in pork all day flavor with about 5 minutes of work. The mashed potatoes and the ribs were the go-withs for my delish bacon greenbeans!

Joyce W you are my hero- the Betty Crocker of Bacon!

Plus mashed potatoes and ribs! Where do you live? Can I come over? Sigh. I had almonds for dinner tonight.

Thanks Bacon Girl! Not our usual weeknight dinner, 16 y.o. (with a culinary future) got bored enough to actually make most of dinner. The unmentioned part is that barbeque sauce is still hanging off the ceiling and the blinds in the kitchen but all in all a successful dinner! You'd always be welcome though!

Bacon Girl,

Were they smokehouse almonds???

Darn tasty, they are.

Bumping up an old thread, but the 4-cheese grilled cheese at Todd Conner's is worth adding to the list!

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About this blog
Richard Gorelick was appointed The Baltimore Sun's restaurant critic in September 2010. Before joining the paper staff fulltime, he contributed freelance criticism and features articles about food to area and regional publications. Along the way, he dispatched for short-distance trucking companies, shilled for cultural non-profits, and assisted in cognitive neurology research – never the subject, always the control.

He takes restaurants seriously but not himself, and his favorite restaurant is the one you love, too.

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