When a restaurant claims to serve the best grilled cheese sandwich in New York City, it better deliver the goods. Sure enough, like the new Melrose Place, Say Cheese! provides a fun update on an old classic.
Inside a small storefront on 9th Avenue, a faithful line of cooks whip up dishes that are likely to give grandma’s old grilled cheese a run for its money. Sure, you can play it safe with the plain “Back to Basics” sandwich, but diving face first into one of Say Cheese!’s greasy combinations of meat, cheddar and greens is a lot more fun.
Take the Presto Pesto: chicken, red onions and cheddar cheese basted with a garlic pesto sauce on toasted olive sourdough bread. It’s truly a Grade A sandwich. The chicken is grilled and tender, and they don’t skimp on the pesto, as many other establishments might with an expensive ingredient. The real star of the sandwich, though, is the olive bread, which ensures a rustic flavor with each and every bite.
Other notables on the menu include an artichoke-tuna melt and a grilled Portobello melt, as well as takes on the classic BLT and Cubano sandwiches. When all else fails, patrons have the option of building their own tasty concoctions, choosing from ingredients like Gouda, prosciutto, goat cheese and avocado.
Say Cheese! also offers a wide array of health smoothies and juices, soups and salads of the day and even flan and chocolate pudding for desert. They don’t serve beer or wine but, as their website invites, “you are more than welcome to bring you own.”
Heads up: While there’s nothing on the menu over $8, you’ll have to shell out $1.50 for a glass of bottled water (tap water apparently isn’t available). As far as ambiance goes, the restaurant’s wooden chairs and narrow brick walls achieve a cozy, hole-in-the-wall feeling that’s a staple of its Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood, but it might not be for everyone.
The bottom line, a five-star establishment it’s not, but if you’re looking for a fun, casual meal on the cheap, Say Cheese! is definitely worth checking out.
649 9th Avenue between 45th and 46th Streets in Manhattan
Open 7 days a week, Noon-9PM