Restaurant Review: Tom+Chee
Nothing says Run Far Far Away like a giant line of customers spilling out the door of a joint. What could possibly be so delicious and so special that it’s worth investing hours of life standing in line?
Fortunately, the line at Tom+Chee moves fast. In fact, it’s an order line that clips along in spite of the fact that Tom+Chee is a new spot -a spot where customers don’t already know the menu, and might be expected to spend a little time muddling around.
Tom+Chee is a new Grilled Cheese joint, part of a small chain that has set up in Pickerington. It’s also the second grilled cheese chain to hit the area in the past year. Given the menu, comparisons with Melt are inevitable. It’s not as campy as Melt. The new place is fast-casual, so you order at the counter. The portions are not as crazy huge, and the prices are cheaper. It’s like Melt’s low brow little sibling.
Which is perfectly fine; a grilled cheese sandwich doesn’t need lots of gimmicks to be good.
The menu is written all over a massive chalk board behind the order counter. That means it’s better to arrive with some familiarity with the offerings, unless you enjoy standing in line and squinting.
So, a basic Grilled Cheese is $4.75 and a good score. There are several cheese and bread options: a classic combination would feature American cheese, thick cut Texas toast, and a crunchy, toasty shell courtesy some time on the grill. The only thing that could make it Tom+Chee’s offering better would be a buttery accent; regardless, the sandwich fills the grilled cheese void.
Or upgrade with a Fancy Grilled Cheese. The BLT+Chee ($6.45) features bacon, and it’s not just slices of bacon. Instead, it’s has a million crispy nuggets of bacon piled high inside the sandwich. Genius.
Roast Beef with rye ($6.75) was also on the get-list. It has less emphasis on cheese, more emphasis on beef. The meat is a savory, super-thin, fast-foody sort of roast beef.
For more exotic palates, there is the Grilled Mac+Cheese ($5.95) sandwich. The pasta is thick, surprisingly cheesy and clots together very nicely inside the sandwich. It is what it is, which is starch inside of starch. Good for a quick thrill, but maybe something else for dinner?
Something like a salad, to go with that starch? The Grilled Cheese Salad ($6.45) would be the signature offering. It’s a generous supply of mixed greens equipped with grilled cheese croutons -so salad-eaters can remain on-theme.
Or the name-sake soup: Classic Tomato ($4.50). It is a serviceable tomato soup that works nicely as a foil for the sandwiches.
It’s worth knowing that, for total decadence, guests can engineer their sandwiches with donuts as bread. Tom+Chee team makes this work in a non-sticky fingers way: the donuts are sliced and the frosted side goes inside. In fact, there’s a house food challenge for guests who can ingest 13 Grilled Cheese Donuts in one setting.
For now, Tom+Chee has colonized Pickerington at 10709 Blacklick-Eastern Rd. It’s also installing a Hilliard stop, which will be opening soon.
For more information, visit www.tomandchee.com.
Photos by Mollie Lyman of www.fornixphotography.com.