14718 Detroit Ave
Lakewood, OH 44107
by Reuben Dagwood
Being both a negative bastard and a drunk sometimes makes it difficult to have smooth interactions with other people. This is especially true in regard to spouses and girlfriends of friends. The problem is that most of my best pals are all like minded “rude jerks”. However, unlike myself, most of them are pretty skilled at turning this side of themselves off, especially when attempting to land a significant other. The result of this is that they typically have GFs that don’t like their BFF.
The best example of this is my best mate Frank’s last gal. In the beginning, I would just hear whisperings from Frank on days after about her having been disappointed with me. In the end, I’d show up, she’d roll her eyes and say something along the lines of, “I didn’t know Rueben was coming. Maybe we can leave early tonight, Frank, yeah?”
Well, I always made the argument that this unfortunate scenario was all based on the fact that Frank’s main gal was simply boring and un-fun. This argument was always heatedly countered by Frank, but now, I have been vindicated. After Frank moved on from her, he quickly found a newer, stronger, improved version, and I couldn’t be more pleased. She is a professional, has class, is independent, and most importantly, isn’t afraid to make obnoxious jokes and get completely hammered. In short, my bromance with Frank is back in full swing!
She suggested we all should go get a nice, relaxing dinner, and maybe meet up with their other female friend in the attempts to create a love affair with yours truly. Melt was suggested, and I’ve heard all kinds of things about the place, from wonderful to absolute garbage. So, I decided it was time to find out for myself.
It was a Wednesday night, but the wait for a table was still quoted as “a little over an hour.” I was a bit surprised by this, but the place has been in every newspaper, magazine, and Cleveland based blog for two years, so I guess it shouldn’t have been such a shock. We passed the time at the bar, dominating their bottle of Maker’s Mark.
We finally got our table, and I have no idea if it was an hour or ten minutes, just because we were having a great time, and the libations were flowing hard. I ordered the Firecracker Chicken, which was, like all the sandwiches there, a variation of the grilled cheese sandwich. I must be clear and specify, however, that it was an awesome variation.
It was seasoned chicken with avocado and grilled pineapple, all melted together with pepper jack cheese. The bread was huge slices of Texas Toast. It came with a massive order of home-cut French Fries and a gigantic scoop of coleslaw. When the plate arrived, I was very leery, mainly because the meal was $10, but the large plate had absolutely zero exposed area. I thought this was going to be an example of big huge servings to mask crappy food. I was wrong. This sandwich was phenomenal.
Initially, I was worried that it was going to be too dry. But, as it turns out, I had just missed the pineapple on the first bite. I had picked this sandwich only on the merits that it was the only spicy sandwich on the menu. I couldn’t really wrap my mind around the idea of pineapple mixing with pepper jack cheese. But, and I cannot stress this enough, when coupled with the avocado, it’s maybe the best combination ever.
Looking backwards, it makes sense. The avocado accented the spice of the cheese, and the pineapple left the most pleasantly sweet aftertaste rolling around in my mouth. Honestly, the chicken was simply an afterthought. To me, it was simply a vehicle for the knockout punch of the toppings. It could have been substituted with anything and I’d have been fine with it. In fact, I suspect that had it been “Firecracker Cardboard”, I’d still be raving. Stopping myself halfway through the sandwich was possibly the hardest thing I’ve had to do in recent memory.
From there, we stayed for a few more rounds, and were wonderfully looped by the time we left. I thought the service was exceptionally friendly, especially in that the more boozy I get, the louder I get. The price was wonderful, both for the food and the booze. And, the food was exquisite.
The evening continued considerably later than had been originally planned, and as a result, massive hangovers abounded. I fired up the oven and split the sandwich apart and loaded it on a cookie sheet along with the French fries. I cooked them for 10 minutes at 350 degrees, and I actually thought the sandwich was even better. I will, for sure, be looking forward to the next visit to Melt, especially if it is going to be with a good gang of hammerbacks like this time.