Posted May 1, 2015
By AUTUMN ROBERTSON
EDITOR’S NOTE: Just after this review was researched and prepared, Sack It! in Coconut Grove was closed.
Americans love cheese. It is an unwritten fact. We love our cheese shredded, melted, grilled and chilled, and we can find cheese in almost every type of cuisine known to man. Yet, ingesting cheese in its simplest form will always be a favorite among many Americans.
That is why the grilled cheese is a popular national staple. It is so simple, yet so delicious and hits the spot of many stomachs. Chefs have found much culinary freedom in creating their version of the modern-day classic.
I wanted to see where Miami sits in the world of cheese sandwich gastronomy. I decided to back to the basics by traveling throughout Miami in search for fairly new restaurants that featured some type of grilled cheese on their menus.
My goal was to order only a grilled cheese from each place and compare and contrast the three sandwiches.
But I didn’t want to order just any basic grilled cheese; I wanted to find sandwiches that define the modern day definition of the delicious sandwich.
I looked at this journey as a civic duty to the good people of Miami (and most importantly, my stomach). I stumbled upon three great restaurants in very distinct areas of the city that did not fail to disappoint my wallet or my appetite: Crumb on Parchment, found in the Design District, Sack It! in Coconut Grove, and Ms. Cheezious, found in Miami’s Modern Architecture District. Join me on this journey through Miami as describe three grilled cheeses that rocked my world.
Crumb on Parchment is a cozy spot that I discovered during lunchtime in Midtown. It was created by Michelle Bernstein, one of Miami’s top restauranteurs. “Crumb” is a bakery and café that does not offer much on the menu, which I found delightful since crowded menus overwhelm me. The menu is relatively inexpensive compared to other restaurants in that area.
I wandered there to try “Crumb’s”Gooey Grilled Cheese. This $10 sandwich was great and did not disappoint. The bread was a simple, crusty white that was buttered and toasted to perfection. The bread embraced a hot and stringy fontina cheese, dressed with tomato, mushrooms and bacon (which I added on for $1 extra). It was perfectly cooked and was quite the treat.
Sack It! is a new open air sandwich spot in Coconut Grove that sits right below the movie theater in CocoWalk. It opened in February 2015 and has been a hit among Grovers ever since, mainly due to the restaurant’s quick service and convenience.
My experience ordering at Sack It! was a great one. The theme of the restaurant is cartooned based. The restaurant has exciting comic book illustrations along its walls and even went as far as naming all of its sandwiches on the menu as comic book interjections, like the “Kaboom!” and the “Blammo!” sandwich.
I ordered the $8 “Rat-ta-tat-tat!” grilled cheese, which had brie, Swiss, and cheddar cheeses inside Challah bread, layered with apples. The apples intrigued me the most about the sandwich and I was immediately excited to try it.
I thought that the flavor combinations were great and the construction of the sandwich was perfect, but I had a few issues. I think they might have kept my sandwich sitting out for a while because the cheese started to solidify when I began to eat it. I like my cheeses in a toasted sandwich to be completely melted.
Also, there was a lot of cheese on this sandwich. Now please do not get me wrong; I love cheese! I especially love the three types of cheeses that were in this sandwich. But I cannot deal with an overload of cheese in a grilled cheese sandwich unless I have a cup of soup to balance it out.
More cheese is not directly related to a better tasting grilled cheese sandwich; sometimes simple is better. Overall, I liked this sandwich after spending some time trimming off some of the cheddar hanging out of it.
I know I mentioned that sometimes simple is better when it comes to food, but Ms. Cheezious has proved me wrong. Ms. Cheezious was a food truck that expanded its cheesy dynasty into a brick and mortar restaurant off of Biscayne Boulevard. If the basic grilled cheese had a crazy aunt that we all loved, Ms. Cheezious would be the place to find her.
The award-winning food trucks are popular and still travel around Miami, but I decided to go to their fixed location, which opened in the February 2015. The location of the restaurant is absolutely perfect. Found in the heart of the retro Miami Modern Design district, Ms. Cheezious has a 1960s shabby pin-up theme to it that helped it assimilate into the ambiance of the area.
I was infatuated with this place. There are about 10 unique grilled cheeses on the menu and none of them exceeded $10. I must say, it was so difficult for me to choose just one sandwich. I ended up asking the staff what was the most popular item and they told me to order the Croqueta Monsieur.
The Croqueta Monsieur is very Miami. It is an $8 twist on the French croque monsieur. The sandwich includes three pressed croquettes, shredded ham, Swiss cheese and a delicious Gouda béchamel that can all be found smothered between two toasted pieces of sourdough. As strange as it may sound, this sandwich was amazingly delicious. The sourdough was toasted to perfection and the sauce added a nice, messy touch. Shoot, I’m getting butterflies just by thinking about it.
The simplest of all three of these sandwiches is the grilled cheese from Crumb and Parchment. It was a great grilled cheese that followed the twentieth century American standard of not being too fancy or whacky. For about $10, it was the most expensive out of the three. However, if I find myself back in the area craving a grilled cheese, I will stop by for sure.
The winner of my favorite, fanciest, and wackiest grilled cheese is definitely Ms. Cheezious’ Croqueta Monsieur. Quite frankly, it was the bomb. The uniqueness of the sandwich impressed me as well as others who keep coming back to the restaurant. I will be back for sure, with hopes of next time trying out their chicken and waffle grilled cheese.
The sandwich from Sack It! probably sounds the fanciest on paper for sure and was quite yummy, but the amount of cheese was difficult to deal with. Either way, I would go back if I was in the area looking for a quick bite.
I forecast that the grilled cheese “trend” is going nowhere anytime soon. Restaurants are finding that grilled cheeses are cheap and profitable, and kids and adults love them.
These three restaurants are great if you would like to expand your grilled cheese catalog anytime soon while simultaneously wanting to try out new restaurants in Miami (especially Ms. Cheezious). You will not be disappointed!
Crumb on Parchment
- 3930 NE 2nd Ave., Miami, Fla. 33137 (Buena Vista, Design District)
- Price Range: $$
- Store Times: Mondays-Saturdays: 8:30 a.m. -4:30 p.m. Sundays: 8:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m.
- All major credit cards accepted
- Street parking
- 7418 Biscayne Blvd., Miami, Fla. 33138 (Little River, MiMo District)
- Price Range: $
- Every day, 11 a.m.-11 p.m.
- Has free parking lot, but can fill up easily