Thursday, May 30, 2013

Quick Eats: Say Cheese - Toronto, ON

After my introductory course to grilled cheese at, where else but "The Grilled Cheese" with Shannon, I was ready to venture out on my own. After late afternoon / early evening catch up session with my old high school friend on Bloor Street, we started on our way back (on what would be a 40 minute walk!) to Toronto's down town core for some sushi at Japango. Say Cheese, with its comical caricature logo, somehow caught my eye and I made a detour to venture a little closer. It featured a large sign on the side of the outdoor patio boasting: "Five Must-Try Sandwiches!" one of them being the Bulgolgi Kimcheese Sandwich. Being a veteran fan of Korean food and a newly-branded novice fan of grilled cheese sandwiches, I knew I would regret not at least stepping into Say Cheese to view the rest of their menu. Over my two week stay in Toronto, Shannon and I had embarrassingly become masters of the double-dinners, and I didn't hesitate to purchase their featured sandwich.

For a fairly empty restaurant - only about half of the restaurant was full - I ended up waiting quite a while for what I thought should have been on the same level as fast food (in terms of wait times). There was only one waiter / cashier and one cook that evening, and it seemed they were rather busy catching up on previous orders from dine-in customers. At one point, they actually got into an obvious argument, which was a little awkward for my friend and I standing at the counter waiting, and showed very little tact in my opinion. After receiving my sandwich, I decide to tuck it away in my bag for safe keeping, as we were already on our way to dinner. I didn't get around to taking my first bites until much later in the evening, after my sushi craving was well ratified.

Bulgolgi Kimcheese Sandwich
The first bite was absolutely delectable! The bulgolgi was one of the most impressive bulgolgi's I have tasted with a perfect mixture of salty, meaty flavours and a subtle, yet commanding sweet note. Even in comparison to traditional Korean restaurants, this bulgolgi was a stand-out. The kimchi was added in perfect proportion and really enhanced the bulgolgi flavours with its sour acidity and heat. Over the years, my palate has developed a better tolerance of spicy flavours (thanks mostly to Sriracha), resulting in a better appreciation of how heat can really enhance a dish. For me, the kimchi had an acceptable kick to it, though was a few levels too low in terms of spiciness for my liking. Say Cheese may serve its customers better by providing options on how spicy you want your Kimcheese (i.e. mild, medium, hot). The most disappointing part of the sandwich was definitely the "cheese," which was really only a single slice of mozzarella. It seemed that the cheese was simply an afterthought or added just so the sandwich would qualify as a "grilled cheese" sandwich. Unfortunate, as I think a thick, stretchy layer of mozzarella would have really added to this sandwich.

Having tried North American twists on grilled cheese, I was glad I made a stop at Say Cheese to try the Asian version of grilled cheese sandwiches. Without trying more of their menu items, I am not be able to give Say Cheese a fair rating, though their Bulgolgi Kimcheese is definitely a must-try for Korean and grilled-cheese lovers alike. I will be back to Toronto for another three-week hoorah in November, and Say Cheese is definitely on my list of re-visits. Till next time!

Say Cheese on Urbanspoon

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