Downtown Kingston is home to numerous dining establishments who devote their entire menus to one type of food or another. From gourmet burger bistros such as The Works and Harper’s, to delicious poutineries including Smoke’s and divine pizzerias such as Woodenheads and Atomica, there is no shortage of specialty restos to satisfy your specialty craving. Basing one’s entire menu on variations of a single dish can be risky business, but many successful restaurants thrive by employing this strategy. Over time, they become the first place we think of when we crave the best, gourmet (insert food type here). Therefore, it stands to reason that MltDwn, a new purveyor of gourmet grilled cheese, could eventually satisfy a craving Kingstonians didn’t realize they had.
MltDwn is fresh on the local food scene, having opened their doors only within the past two weeks. Their tagline taste comfort is backed by 8 carefully crafted varieties of grilled cheese sandwiches, while MltDwn also gives customers the ability to build their own. Their small but stylish grilled cheese boutique is situated a few steps down from The Works, which puts them in good company when it comes to specialty food restos. Previously, the space had been occupied by Vinnie’s Subs, then Vinnie’s Burgers and Fries, however the friendly folks at MltDwn were quick to point out that they have absolutely no affiliation with the people behind Vinnie’s.
New to the gourmet grilled cheese game, I wanted to ensure that my first experience did not deviate too far from the traditional sandwich my mother had prepared during my childhood. As one of my dining companions agreed to trade a slice of his 4 Cheese, which consists of American Cheddar, Aged Cheddar, Provolone & Gruyere on Texas Toast ($5.50), I knew that I could comfortably stray into uncharted territory. After we had all placed our orders and paid, our names were called one after another as our sandwiches and sides became ready. Up first was the 4 Cheese sandwich, which offered an abundance of gooey cheese that could barely be contained by the two thin slices of white bread. It was by all accounts, the best straight up grilled cheese I have ever tasted. Sorry mom…
My other dining companion also broke away from what most would consider a traditional grilled cheese sandwich. She ordered the Mac N’Cheese, which presents to slices of Texas toast packed with Kraft Dinner, American Cheddar & Aged Cheddar ($6.00). What does the Mac N’Cheese taste like? Exactly what you’d think it would taste like, Kraft Dinner lovingly jammed into a grilled cheese. For me, this sandwich was a bit underwhelming, however it was exactly what my dining companion was hoping for. Personally, I found the KD a bit too bland.
Admittedly, I was rather anxious to see if my sandwich would live up to the hype created by the gentleman offering recommendations and operating the cash register. For the pièce de résistance, my Pulled Pork grilled cheese presented an unmatched blend of Pulled Pork, Caramalized Onion, Jalapeno Jack, Aged Cheddar & House BBQ Sauce, served between two slices of Sourdough ($8.50). Hard to believe, but this was yet another perfect sandwich, and one that I would order again without hesitation. The sauce added a sweet yet smokey kick that really complimented the saltiness of the cheese. I was also thoroughly impressed with the Sourdough bread, which I would consider substituting if I ever ordered any of the other sandwich varieties.
MltDwn may be the new kid on the specialty block, but they’re quickly earning a solid reputation when it comes to delivering the goods: delicious gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches. Quality ingredients, friendly service and stylish atmosphere combine to create a winning, gourmet recipe for MltDwn. Sure you pay a bit more for gourmet, but you’ll realize that it was money well spent soon after the first few bites. The only criticism or improvement that I could possibly identify is with respect to the waste/recycling situation at MltDown. First, the garbage/recycling station is collocated with the condiment station, which makes it hard to maneuver in such a small place. Secondly, as a business that relies entirely on “eco” take-away food boxes, I was somewhat dismayed by the absence of organic recycling. Two minor blemishes for an establishment that otherwise earned top marks.