Meltdown in Culver City
This was in the Los Angeles Times Food section today:
"First-time restaurateur Ryan Afromsky opens Meltdown today in Culver City. The breakfast and lunch grilled cheese specialty shop is open weekdays only, serving nearly two dozen different melts, from a "classic 3 cheese" on sourdough to "banana nut," which is Nutella and banana on egg bread.
Meltdown, 9739 Culver Blvd., Culver City, (310) 838-6358."
I ate at Meltdown today for lunch and was actually customer number 4!!! It was very good comfort food. The owner was very friendly and made sure that he greeted each diner and checked in to see how people were enjoying their food. I had a grilled cheese sandwhich with 3 cheeses and with grilled tomatoes. My friend had the "partial melt down" which was 1/2 a sandwhich (cheese, applebutter and ham) with a cup of tomatoe soup. She loved her sandwhich as well. A nice touch is that they have a selction of sodas and other drinks, all in glass bottles. I recommend this restaurant!
I just returned from my first lunch at Meltdown. My boyfriend and I went, so I got a try a variety of things.
My first impression was, wow... word spread fast. We waited almost 30 minutes in line to order our food. The building was not well designed for the capacity that Culver City restaurants receive during the lunch rush. There is only one averaged-sized entryway and the line of people spilled outside, blocking the entrance for the employees trying to carry trays of food in and out.
When I got to the register, I realized why the line moved so slowly. Although they were set up with two registers, they only had one going. The employee running it was extremely friendly, but didn't know his computer system at all. He repeated my order back to me a total of 3 times. I'm sure this will smooth over in a few days, once they work out a few kinks.
Ok, onto the food! I went traditional and ordered a "partial meltdown": half a Classic 3 Cheese sandwich to which I added bacon and tomatoes, and a cup of tomato soup. My boyfriend got the Italian Deli sandwich with a cup of their daily special soup, Chilled Cucumber and Mint. They had an interesting soda selection, but we both passed for cups of water. The total came to just under $25.
The order came up relatively quickly and overall everything was very tasty. The Classic Grilled Cheese half sandwich was a tad small considering the price and the bacon was precooked and a little chewy -- I would skip that next time and just go for the added tomatoes. That would save me 2 bucks right there. The tomato soup was rich and painfully hot, and I thought the serving was generous for a cup sized portion. My boyfriend's Italian Deli sandwich tasted great as well, the variety of lunch meats tasted very fresh. I wasn't a big fan of the chilled cucumber mint soup. It tasted a bit like tzatziki sauce was put into a blender and I expected it to be served much colder. Both sandwiches were accompanied by a very tiny side (like 3-4 bites) of fennel-red onion slaw and a spear of their homemade pickles. I found both to be a really refreshing compliment to the heavy cheese sandwich.
So in the end, yeah, it's a bit much to ask 7 bucks for a grilled cheese sandwich, but the ingredients were tasty and fresh and a $12 lunch is sadly extremely common in Culver City.
I went on the opening day, too, for take out. It took 40 minutes from the time I stood in that slow moving line to the time I got my grilled cheese.
The sandwich: I got the 3 cheese classic w/ applewood smoked bacon, $9.50 with tax. The blended flavor of the sharp cheddar, muenster, and fontina was good, but the cheeses were a bit waxy. It was a small sandwich, regular square loaf size bread, low quality sourdough. I felt ripped off. However, the little side of their fennel/red onion slaw was very refreshing and delicious. The sandwich also comes with a half spear (1/8 of the pickle, not 1/4) of their house-made pickle, which was only briefly brined, so wasn't quite ready, unless that's just how they like to make their pickles.
The service: I found meter parking and did not expect a 40 min. wait, so about 10 min before the meter was to expire, I asked the women in the "kitchen" (I thought she was the owner), when she thought my order might be coming up, so that I could decide whether I needed to go add money to the meter. Well, this apparently frazzled her completely. She was already frazzled by the large number of customers that they should have been expecting. I told one of the servers I'll go feed the meter and be right back. I came back to wait some more. Not sure what the server told her, but when I got back the woman in the kitchen apparently put my order ahead of a couple of others to, basically, "appease" me. I never was upset with anyone there, and was polite; I just didn't want to pay a parking ticket on top of the overpriced grilled cheese. Anyway, she gave my order to the server, the server checked with her to make sure it was my order, and she said, upset and without looking up (I was standing right there), "it's whatever that lady wanted."
So, not a very good experience. And since I could go for years without eating a grilled cheese, I probably won't be back anytime soon.