Cut the Cheese
Cut The Cheese is finally open in the Junction after debuting gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches months earlier at food fests in the fall. The concept from first-time restaurateur, Randal So (an ex-digital marketing professional) is centred around cheesy comfort foods prepared entirely from scratch by head chef Gavin Gusche (formerly of Barque Smokehouse).
Taking over the address of a former Top Cuts salon, the short-order kitchen was built from the ground up. The casual take-out counter keeps a monotone colour scheme and employs urban and industrial aesthetics. The staff are uniformed in camo and photos of alleyways and street art are mounted throughout courtesy of @Visualbass . Seating is limited to only a handful of counter-top stools, emphasizing that take-out really is the best bet.
The line-up of grilled cheese sandwiches and loaded mac n' cheeses are scrawled on blackboards above the production line. There are half a dozen under each category plus staple sides like tomato soup ($3), fries ($2.75), cheese coins ($3) and slaw ($2.25).
The Pearisian ($9.15) is comprised of brie and blue cheese melted over a sweet layer of wine poached pears, crispy pancetta and fresh arugula all sandwiched between butter-soaked slices of griddle-toasted sourdough. While hardly necessary, the house-made ketchup is a nice touch and the featured chili-spiked ketchup offers a subtle kick.
Each of the six macaroni and cheese options start with the same bechamel base but are differentiated by various cheesy mix-ins and toppings.
The Southern Comfort ($11.25) is stirred with emmental and topped with nuggets of buttermilk-fried chicken, fresh corn, sauteed bell peppers and banana peppers.
I try the Shroomin' ($11.05) too, this one is mixed with mushroom paste and asiago then topped with a trio of portobello, oyster and king mushrooms plus caramelized leeks. It is an especially rich and garlicky dish, but it's missing a crunchy element for a little textural variety. Breadcrumbs maybe?
Cut The Cheese is closed Mondays but otherwise opens at 11:30am, Tuesday through Thursday the shop closes at 9pm but on Fridays and Saturdays the griddle keeps cooking late-night until 2am. Sundays 'til 7pm.
Photos by Jesse Milns