Gary Seman Jr.
Even those with the greatest appetites might be intimidated by a sandwich-and-fries platter in the Melt Bar and have a barbecue in the short north.
The Cleveland-based restaurant chain, which also has another central location in Ohio at Easton Town Center, is blatant about its reduced-calorie dishes and its “gourmet grilled cheese” served on thick slices of bread between French and Italian from a bakery in Pittsburgh, which uses Melt’s recipe specifications.
“This type of bread has really proven itself, the best we’ve ever had,” said Matt Fish, founder and sandwich innovator of Melt.
Fish said he likes to slide the envelope when it comes to Melt’s sandwiches, their names, and amazing sizes.
Take, for example, the “Korean war pig” (12.25 USD for half, 16.50 USD for the whole): braised boneless pork ribs, glazed with Asian barbecue sauce, kimchi, Munster cheese and a relish made from pear and onion and coriander.
“We approach sandwiches like coated appetizers,” said Fish. “The Korean war pig is a good example.”
All sandwiches are served with french fries or kettle chips.
Both crispy fried chicken and a Belgian maple waffle are filled with Sriracha mayo and pepper jack cheese between two slices of bread, with maple syrup on the side for dipping ($ 11.75 for half, $ 16 for a whole).
“We sell a lot of them for what it is: it’s a familiar dish to a lot of people,” said Fish. “It’s one of the tallest sandwiches we make.”
Not everything on the menu is meat oriented.
The “Lake Erie Monster” (US $ 10.75 for half, US $ 15 for the whole) offers a plentiful pollock fillet, topped with a panko crust and deep-fried until extra crispy, with sweet coleslaw and American cheese and with A side dish of jalapeno is served with tartar sauce.
“If you like a fried fish sandwich – and you like a lot of people, and I’m one of them – this is one of the best fried fish sandwiches out there,” he said.
One of the many vegetarian sandwiches on the menu, the “Cowabunga” ($ 10.75 for half, $ 14.50 for whole), contains fried pizza rolls, basil marinara, basil pesto, herb cream cheese, and provolone and romano.
“It’s a very unique sandwich,” said Fish. “We thought that up years ago.”
Melt also offers a variety of starters, meal salads, and soups, such as the French onion version ($ 5.25 per bowl).
Melt’s Style is usually made from beef broth and has a hearty vegetable broth full of sweet caramelized onions topped with toast and bubbly provolone. (A vegan option is available with the soup and many other dishes.)
“The French onion soup is a very new addition to the menu,” said Fish. “People used to come in and ask for French onion soup.”
Fish said he will continue to invent daring menu items and monthly specials.
“We take some freedom in the preparation of our food,” he said. “Some people get what we do and some don’t – and that’s fine.”
At a glance
Where: Melt bar and grilled
Place: 840 N. High St., short north
Hours: Wednesday to Friday from 4pm to 10pm, Saturday from 11am to 10pm and Sunday from 11am to 9pm; closed on Mondays and Tuesdays
Contact: 614-453-1150, blendbarandgrilled.com