April 12, 2011

Grilled Cheese & Co. - This Ain't Your Mom's Grilled Cheese!

April 12, 2011
In honor of National Grilled Cheese Month, we took a trip to Grilled Cheese & Co., a relatively new Catonsville sandwich shop specializing in different variations of the grilled cheese sandwich.  Since its opening in March 2010, it has been a hit in the area (its owners are already working on a second location in Eldersburg), so we wanted to see what the place was about.

The Catonsville location, and Corporate
HQ, from Harlem Avenue.
The restaurant is a small and cozy, occupying the first floor of a converted house, and has about 10 small tables plus a few chairs out front and an outdoor table alongside of the building.  Though I suspect that most of the time this is an adequate number of seats, during our visit at 1:00 PM on a Saturday, there was standing room only in the dining room.  It was too cold to eat outdoors, but even if it was warmer, those extra seats would still have not been enough.  And parking, located in the rear of the building, was proportionate to the number of tables, causing us to have to park in the adjacent neighborhood.

The menu is printed on the side wall of the dining room, in huge font, which helps when trying to decide what to order.  And the line for ordering moved quickly.  

My wife and I arrive early, so while waiting for the rest of the party to arrive, we snacked on a bowl of Cream of Broccoli Soup ($2.99 for 8 oz./$4.99 for 16 oz.) and an order of Sweet Potato Fries.  The bowl of soup was larger than expected, and was flavored with cheddar cheese and small bits of chicken.  The small pieces of chicken were nice, as they did not overpower the broccoli and cheddar flavoring.  And the fries were seasoned with black pepper, though not too strongly, resulting in a very unique and flavorful rendition of the sweet potato.  We were very pleased with both of these.
When the rest of the party arrived (and squeezed around a small 2-top table), we ordered our sandwiches.  The orders included the Crabby Melt ($7.49), filled with monterey jack cheese and crab dip; the BCT ($6.49), a more traditional grilled cheese sandwich filled with bits of bacon, cheddar cheese, and tomatoes; and the Smashed Meatball ($7.49), filled with meatballs, provolone cheese, and marinara sauce.  And of course, we got some Cream of Tomato Basil Soup ($2.99 for 8 oz./$4.99 for 16 oz.) for dunking.

The Crabby Melts were well received in our group.  The crab dip was generous, oozing out of the sides, and was not overpowered with Old Bay.  There were a few trace pieces of shell found in the crab, which is good because it shows that the crab is fresh, but is also a little bit annoying.  The BCT was quite good, and contained a pretty generous portion of chopped up bacon.  Almost too much bacon actually, but you’ll never catch me complaining about that.  It was simple enough that you almost can’t go wrong.  And the Smashed Meatball was also good, but could have used a little extra marinara sauce.  The soups were very good, but I would only recommend them to those who like basil, because the flavoring is significant.

The preparation and service was very prompt as well.  They operate using the two-window method – order at window one, pick up at window two.  But they always brought the food directly to our table, rather than making us come up and claim it.  And that was a challenging feat for the employees, because as I said, the place was crowded.

Overall, we really enjoyed our lunch at Grilled Cheese & Co.  We wouldn’t recommend it to a large party, and would recommend that you try to avoid the lunch rush, particularly on a Saturday.  But, definitely check it out!

Our only recommendation to the owners: keep an eye out on that 2nd floor, and if the current tenant ever moves out, scoop it up and expand the dining room.

Reviewed Location:

500 Edmondson Avenue
Catonsville, MD 21228
(Right off of I-695, Exit 14)

Additional Locations (some locations opened after the date of this review):

1036 Light Street
Baltimore, MD 21230

577 Johnsville Road, Suite 1
Sykesville, MD 21784

2624 Brandermill Blvd
Gambrills, MD 21054

5-Star Rating

Food: ***1/2
Service: ****
Ambiance: **
Price: $ ($10+/-)

***Bob Ganoosh would like to thank Sal, a local restaurant-goer and friend, for the recommendation to this restaurant!***

Grilled Cheese & Co. on Urbanspoon


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