Friday, November 4, 2016

New owners, same great sandwiches at the Main Cheese

Posted By on Fri, Nov 4, 2016 at 8:00 PM

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The Main Cheese on West Cantrell in Little Rock changed hands in September, so it seemed a good time to make what was, in fact, my first visit. I’m not sure how a restaurant devoted to cheese escaped my attention for so long, but I digress.

We arrived at about 12:15, a time that should have been crowded, but was only steadily busy. The hostess was also functioning as the busser, requiring us to wait before we were seated, but we were none the less seated fairly quickly. Our waitress arrived soon after to take our order.

We ordered the cheese dip to start. Though the dip had a nice smoky flavor, the chips were a bit stale. However, when my meal arrived, my fries served as a great substitute.

I tend to like my grilled cheese more or less traditional, so I ordered The Main Cheese, a self-titled grilled cheese that consists of muenster, fontina, and aged cheddar. I added onions and grilled chicken to make it interesting. My onions never made it to my sandwich, but the chicken was subtle beneath the cheese, resulting in a perfectly good grilled cheese that, despite the apparent heaviness of the meal, didn’t leave me feeling miserable. The herbed fries, though, are what stand out most in my mind—and not just as a cheese dip delivery device.

My friend ordered Float’n the Buffalo, comprised of chicken breast and sautéed onions covered with a blend of creamy cheeses and Buffalo sauce on sourdough bread. As it turns out, I liked her sandwich a bit better than my own, in no small part because of the Buffalo sauce, which goes great with the bleu cheese flecks, in particular.
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A shout-out to our server: though there have been previous complaints about the service, the new owners are working hard to remedy that reputation. Our waitress was genuinely friendly, and even asked specific questions about our meals and appetizer to make sure everything was to our liking. A bit more work in figuring out how much staff is necessary on different days of the week, and I have faith they’ll have it turned around.

After lunch, something was nagging me, and I finally realized what it was. Though billed as a gourmet grilled cheese restaurant, they had few options that really suited what I think of as “gourmet,” or for that matter, “grilled cheese.” The grilled cheese is a humble sandwich, its excellence all wrapped up in its simplicity. Complicate it, and you lose some of what makes it great. However, if I think of The Main Cheese as not a grilled cheese restaurant, but instead as a cheese-focused restaurant, my perspective on it suddenly shifts and I think of my experience in a shining light.

So, if you’re a lover of good cheese, do give The Main Cheese a shot. You’ll find some unique combinations of good flavors to suit your fancy—some of them on bread and grilled, and some of them not.

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