Gothamist had dinner plans with a friend recently, and when we met up, he mentioned that he was feeling somewhat under the weather and could really go for some comfort food. We performed a quick mental scan: Lower East Side. . . comfort food . . . Ludlow Street . . . Bingo! We headed over to Grilled Cheese NYC. We had been there ages ago, but since our last visit, they had added sit-down table service, where previously it had been more of a counter-type operation.

2005_01_food_grilledcheese1.jpgWe settled in, and our sick friend ordered the "Classic," a combination of cheddar, jack, provolone, and tomato, with a side of tomato soup. Now that's comfort. As we scanned the menu, we were having some trouble choosing -- on one hand, there were the options put forth on the menu, a selection of grilled cheeses, either on white or seven-grain, with combinations ranging from simple, like the "Classic" to more bold and interesting, like the "Grilled Motsy," fresh mozzarella, sundried tomato, spinach, basil pesto and vinaigrette dressing, or the "BST," Canadian bacon, spinach, tomato, pickles, and jack cheese. On the other hand, there was the Design-your-own option, with a choice of cheeses and three toppings, with a bit extra for fresh mozzarella, sauteed veggies, or canadian bacon, ham, or turkey. Decisions, decisions. We were so hungry and flustered when the waiter came, we opted for the "Classic" as well, with a side salad and sweet potato fries. They also offer desserts and extra-think milkshakes, and our sick friend opted for a cookies and cream shake to soothe his sore throat.

2005_01_food_grilledcheese2.jpgFocusing on one thing and doing it well has paid off for Grilled Cheese NYC -- their grilled cheeses are excellent. Perfectly toasted bread (pressed like a panini), gooey cheese, and big enough to be quite satisfying even without soup, salad, or fries on the side. But being able to dip your grilled cheese into your tomato soup certainly increases the comfort factor.

2005_01_food_grilledcheese3.jpgThe atmosphere at Grilled Cheese NYC is low-key and casual, and the staff is friendly and easygoing. As the night wore on, and we were the last two customers in the place, our waiter even let us pick out music on the iPod. It's definitely a great place for a quick meal under $10, and it's convenient to many LES hotspots, so next time you're in the neighborhood and are looking for a bite, stop in for some comfort.

Where's your favorite grilled cheese?

Grilled Cheese NYC, 168 Ludlow Street, Lower East Side, 212-982-6600.