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Food

Best grilled cheese in town?

Posted by Jennifer / October 27, 2009

20091027-grilledcheese.JPGI had high expectations for La Maison du Cheddar's grilled cheese. Ever since spotting the store's chalkboard easel advertising the sandwich - with coffee included! - I've had visions of quality cheese, gooey and burnt along the thick crust of soft yet delectably crunchy bread.

La Maison du Cheddar is not a restaurant, but a "fromagerie populaire" situated beside bakeries and a fine grocery store on Van Horne's north side. A small space, with no more than four tables, two counters, and two refrigerated areas for cheese, La Maison isn't really a place made for hanging around - at around 2 on a Saturday afternoon, I was the only person to fill a table at the shop - but the pleasant music and scurry of apron-clad staff made it a friendly afternoon escape from the rain.

The setting is informal; just take a seat, have a look at the menu on the wall, and let someone know what you'd like. The grilled cheese is made with strong or mild cheddar. Sandwiches come with cheese only with veggies and pesto, an egg, or fruits and maple. Each, according to the blackboard menu, is served with cornichons and love!

I opted for the classic - cheddar fort. My famished lunch date chose cheddar-oeuf. I watched, my eyes wide, appetite whet, as a young employee assembled my lunch. For a long time it sat on the grill. I watched on for what seemed like too long as she, and two other employees, checked on the sandwich one time each. Finally a pretty little plate arrived at my table - a sandwich smaller than what I had envisioned, a taste of pickles, and taste of cheese curds. I took a bite and kicked myself for not ordering the pesto one. Pesto, I thought, would have provided flavour. I was unimpressed, but only because my expectations were so high. The sandwich's bread was just average, not crisp perfection, and the cheesiness was almost lost. I inquired after eating which cheese the fromagerie uses for the sandwiches. An employee showed me a not too expensive one-year cheddar from the Saint-Guillaume co-op. "When the cheese is too strong, it's too much. And when it's not strong enough it's boring," she told me. True! Just give me more of it, please! I couldn't tell her that I was afraid the flavour of the cheese was lost in the mix, and the result was, well, boring.

In addition to their variety of cheeses - many from Quebec - La Maison du Cheddar is probably most well known for its impressive selection of cheese curds, which they serve ready-to-eat in cones or to go in little boxes not unlike Chinese food takeout containers. The store is clearly proud of their curds, and rightfully so. The samples of the pesto and sundried tomato flavours - coloured green and pink - that accompanied the grilled cheese were a highlight of my day. Never have I tasted a curd to squeaky and fresh! I gobbled them up, licked my fingers, then my plate, and wished only that the sampling included some of their plain ones as well.

Grilled cheeses run from $4.50 - $5.75 (plus tax). While not the acme of comforting deliciousness, it's hard to go wrong with a grilled cheese. And I did taste the love (I think it was in the curds) in addition to the free samples at the cash.


La Maison du Cheddar
1311 Van Horne
514-904-0011

Discussion

15 Comments

Erin / November 1, 2009 at 09:35 am
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Best grilled cheese sandwich I've had in Montreal is from Touski on Ontario near Frontenac Metro. Chèvre and sundried tomatoes on brown bread. Mmmmm....

Curious about Le Lapin Pressé that opened recently on Laurier and Chambord, but haven't checked it out yet.
Daviel Lazure Vieira / November 2, 2009 at 08:11 am
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I really like the Laïka's grilled cheese with kalamata tapenade, nut bread and Perron cheddar with port. Sweet and salty. You should definitely check it out!
Dominique / November 18, 2009 at 04:37 pm
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à lire!
Joanne / January 26, 2010 at 11:23 am
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I have to agree with Erin. The best grilled cheese i`ve ever had was the touski grilled cheese at Touski on Ontario street. I used to live in the area, but now i moved all the way west. I still dream about it.
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Grilled Cheese Fanatic / April 29, 2014 at 06:40 pm
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Soon, there's going to be a new spot in NDG, on Sherbrooke West called Edwina's...specialized in grilled cheese and comfort food dishes. You may need to update this post when it opens !
Grilled Cheese Fanatic / April 29, 2014 at 06:40 pm
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Soon, there's going to be a new spot in NDG, on Sherbrooke West called Edwina's...specialized in grilled cheese and comfort food dishes. You may need to update this post when it opens !
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