Battle of the Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

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Corbin's vs. Cheuvront There are so many ways to make grilled cheese. Sourdough or white bread? Cheddar cheese, American cheese or Swiss? With or without tomato? We explored a few grilled cheese haunts this week to bring you a sandwich face-off.

In One Corner: Corbin's Bar and Grill 8729 N Central Ave. 602-466-3201

"Uh, hell yeah!" was our friend's first reaction on reading the description of Corbin's grilled cheese. It sounded amazing -- a trio of cheddar, imported Swiss and queso fresco with a thick cut of bacon and tomato, on a choice of either sourdough or whole wheat. The grilled cheese cost $9.50 and came with home fries, cottage cheese or cole slaw. We opted for the whole wheat and home fries combo.

Unfortunately, the sandwich seemed to be all concept and no execution. None of the cheeses had a particularly strong taste. We could see the cheese stacked triple-high on the sandwich, but the taste kind of disappeared when we ate it.

And there was another problem: "I wish it would have been more melty," said our friend. "I like my grilled cheese really melty."

The bacon, in contrast, seemed sadly soggy under all the cheese and tomato. But the bread had a nice crispness to it, which was a plus.

"This one is a little bit lackluster," added our dining companion. "I'm surprised because I've had great food here before." In The Other Corner: Cheuvront Wine and Cheese Cafe 1326 N. Central Ave. 602-307-0022

Owner Ken Cheuvront seems to take his grilled cheese sandwiches very seriously. The day we ate there, Cheuvront and his staff were huddled at the bar and passing around a slim book devoted to dozens of varieties of grilled cheeses.

But trying to taste the grilled cheese at Cheuvront was like falling down a culinary rabbit hole. At first, we foolishly went to the restaurant on a Saturday at 4:00 pm, not realizing the lunch menu would not be available (even though it was handed to us when we sat down).  They gamely offered to make the sandwich anyway, but the kitchen had run out of their special nine grain bread. We chalked the confusion up to our own mistake and promised to return Monday at noon.

So back we went, and ordered the grilled cheese off the lunch menu. Ten minutes later, our waiter came out with an order of macaroni and cheese.

"I'm sorry but we wanted the grilled cheese," we said to him.

"Oh, of course!" he said immediately, looking slightly dazed and embarrassed. "We've only been talking about it since Saturday!" He apologized and disappeared back into the kitchen.

Then another five or ten minutes go by and he brings out HALF a sandwich on a tiny plate -- not the full lunchtime serving that comes with a side salad for $8.00. Somehow, in all the grilled cheese chaos, he thought we wanted the $5.00 happy hour portion that is two quarters of a sandwich, sans salad. He went back to the kitchen again, to fire up the other half and put in an order of a salad.

Anyway, on to the sandwich itself. It's a Vermont cheddar aged for two years and melted on nine grain bread, served with a side of honey dijon. Finally, after three days and multiple misfires, we bit into the sandwich. It was heavenly.

"That's good grilled cheese," our friend said somberly. "It's a lot more simple than the other one, but I appreciate that."

The cheddar was gooey and evenly melted. The honey dijon was a sweet and salty inspiration.

If we had a complaint about their grilled cheese sandwich, it would be that the bread was a little bit too fat. That and the fiasco of actually ordering and being served it, but we can let that go because the cheese was so great.

The Verdict: Cheuvront

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