What: The Melt
Where: 73 Fortune Drive Ste. 105 Irvine, CA 92618
How Much: $5 – $10
Monday-Thursday & Sunday
10 a.m. – 9 p.m.
Fri. and Sat.
10 a.m. – 11 p.m.
When I first heard that a restaurant dedicated entirely to grilled cheese sandwiches was going to open up in Irvine, I couldn’t contain my excitement.
This simple dish list holds a special place in my heart — there’s nothing more comforting than smooth, warm cheese cushioned between two slices of perfectly toasted bread, coupled with a big bowl of tomato soup.
So shortly after The Melt arrived to this new location, I decided to give it a try.
The Melt is a casual eatery — patrons order at the counter and pick up their food once an electronic board indicates that it’s ready.
The inside décor is simple and clean: white walls with typography displaying phrases such as “Grilled Cheese Happiness” and “We Believe in Wholesome Food.”
The atmosphere is happy and welcoming, and upbeat songs from artists such as Florida Georgia Line boom from the speakers as soon as you walk in.
Once I ordered my food and retrieved it after a relatively short wait, I sat down to try out one of The Melt’s specialty sandwiches: “The Mac Daddy.” This decadent grill consists of melted aged cheddar and macaroni in between two slices of artisan white bread. I also ordered a side of the “Two Tomato Basil” soup.
The melted cheese and bits of macaroni oozed out of the bread and I could hardly wait to try this picture-perfect dish. But after I took my first bite, I have to admit that I was a little disappointed.
The combination of the melted cheese and macaroni was very overwhelming and I had a tough time just finishing the first half.
I did appreciate the melted consistency and liked the way that the bread was toasted, but the rest of the sandwich was just average and something that I could have made at home.
The sandwich could have been improved if at least one other type of cheese was used, and if the macaroni had a bit of seasoning.
The pasta was bland, which weighed down the sandwich into a very dense and carb-heavy meal, instead of adding to and complementing the overall flavor.
In terms of the soup, I was not impressed at all. It was a bit coarse and not creamy in the slightest. The soup also tasted a little plain and needed some sort of seasoning as well. I felt as if they had just reheated a big can of Campbell’s Tomato Soup, poured it in a bowl and charged way too much for it.
Perhaps the other three soup options — the sweet corn tortilla, the spicy black bean, and the seasonal sausage and pepper — could have been better, but I do not recommend the Two Tomato Basil.
Overall, The Melt is just mediocre. If you are going to go out for a grilled cheese, I recommend the wide variety of grilled cheese sandwiches offered at Boudin or the Five-way Grilled Cheese at Mimi’s Café.
Other than those exceptions, don’t waste your money on an average sandwich that you could have made with less money and a better taste at home.
The Melt does get points for its speedy and good customer service, and for few unique sandwiches.
Although I am a vegetarian, I saw that they did offer a sandwich called “The Shorty,” which consists of Pepper Jack and Braised Short Rib on a French Baguette.
Perhaps this is an appealing option for meat-eaters and a reason enough to try the restaurant, but I wouldn’t know. Another perk of The Melt is that you can place your order online and pick it up at any location, a convenient stop for busy and on-the-go people.
If you’d like to try one of the unique meat sandwiches, then I’d recommend testing out The Melt — but for everything else, you’re better off making your own sandwich or going to a different restaurant.