Grilled Cheese Sadness

Last August, I had the worst grilled cheese sandwich of my life (so far.  I am now spiritually and mentally prepared to eat worse).  I was moved to write an email in complaint, which is something I have never done aside from this one time.  Here is the email in its entirety.  Happy throwback Thursday.
from: William Marsh <>
date: Fri, Aug 23, 2013 at 4:28 PM
subject: lackluster experience

To whom it may concern,

I returned home last night from dining and enjoying some live music at your establishment, and I really feel compelled to let you know that my experience was marred by the unlikeliest of details.

My partner ordered the quinoa salad, and we shared the pork belly skewers, which were both delicious.  In addition, I ordered a five-dollar grilled cheese sandwich, which turned out to be completely inadequate. Before I get too deep into this I want you to understand that the absurdity of a grown man ordering a grilled cheese sandwich off the kid’s menu at a restaurant, and then allowing it to ruin his evening, is not lost on me.  I am typically an easy to please person.  I am almost never disappointed by what I order in a restaurant.  Almost.

In essence, my issue with your grilled cheese is that it is in fact an exemplary grilled cheese, if one were to learn how to make one from this Wikipedia article, without ever having tasted a well-crafted grilled cheese.  A relevant excerpt is quoted below:

“A cheese sandwich is a basic sandwich made generally with one or more varieties of cheese on any sort of bread. In addition to the cheese, it may also include meats, vegetables and/or condiments. Cheese sandwiches can be uncooked, or heated so that the bread toasts and the cheese melts (a dish referred to as a grilled cheese sandwich, toasted cheese, cheese toastie or simply grilled cheese).”

Note that a sandwich of the grilled cheese genre “may also include meats, vegetables and/or condiments”.  You opted to include none of these, which actually puts your sandwich squarely in the center of the spectrum with regard to which category of sandwich it belongs to.  In fact, it was grilled (I could see the grill marks!) until the cheese was melted, further cementing its place in the “grilled” category of the cheese sandwich pantheon.

Here’s what I was served.  A single-slice layer of melted cheese gluing together two slices of grilled sourdough bread.  Just enough cheese to keep the two slices of bread from separating and not an ounce more.  Nowhere to be found was the side of chips or veggie sticks promised on the menu.  When I approached the waitperson to get my chips, I was informed that the person preparing the food had just started working there.  It was then that I suggested that they might include more cheese in the future, as it really is a very spare sandwich, despite it being exactly as it was described in the menu.  When she returned with my chips, she curtly mentioned that the sandwich was ordered off the children’s menu, which I must assume in her mind must have been some sort of justification for making the most textbook grilled cheese sandwich possible.  (Side-note: She may have just been in a bad mood already, or perhaps took issue with my challenging your establishment’s grilled cheese recipe.  She was unfriendly and unwelcoming all night, but that is a wholly different issue.)

Another side-note: in my defense, what you call a children’s menu on one hand, also was described as being aimed at “the young at heart”, which ultimately confused me into expecting something more than two slices of bread held together with cheeseglue.  I mean, I get that kids don’t like wild and wacky flavors like mustard, or mayo, but seriously.  One slice of cheese in a kid’s sandwich on two gigantic slices of bread?  You’ve got your proportions all out of whack.

Alright, I’ve already written this much and you’re probably wondering what I want you to do about it.  To be honest, I just wanted you to know that your grilled cheese sandwich was a severe disappointment.  At five dollars, one should at least get a pickle spear.  Or maybe a sprig of parsley.  And hopefully more than a single slice of cheese, if it’s not going to have anything else on it.  I’m not a restaurant owner, but I would be willing to wager that at the five dollar price you’ve got enough headroom on your profit margin to double your cheese expenses.  But on the other hand I can’t REALLY complain because what you served on a plate was exactly as it appeared on paper.  But we’re not eating paper, are we?  How about a little compassion for your patrons?  I understand that you are a new business, and I’d like for you to succeed so instead of channeling my rage into a Yelp review, I am just letting you know in private that your five dollar grilled cheese was offensive, and I think your recipe is in severe need of an overhaul.

Wishing the best of luck to you and your business in the future,

-William Marsh

I received a very polite and apologetic note from the owner of this restaurant.  He very nicely validated my ordering off the children’s menu, agreed that their grilled cheese was sub par and offered me a free meal next time I go.  I have yet to take him up on it, not because I’m vindictive, but rather because I haven’t really been hungry while driving by it.

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