2008_01_FoodSaxGrillPress.jpgAt the risk of turning this into a cheese sandwich blog, we pose the following question: What do you get when you take a grilled cheese, arguably the Platonic form of childhood comfort food, and let Anne Saxelby put her spin on it? A decidedly grown-up version known as the Grayson and B&B's Grilled Cheese. As soon as we heard about this new sandwich, Gothamist sped down to the Saxelby Cheesemongers.

The first thing that struck us was the relative lack of signage for this sandwich. It must be one of the Lower East Side’s best kept secrets, especially since at 2pm Jeffrey, the guy working the stall, had to find the cord to the panini press. That’s right – panini press. After all, it would be hard to fit a full-fledged stove in Saxelby’s shoebox-sized stall in Essex Market.

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“I’ve gotta plug it in. It’ll take about 10 minutes,” Jeffrey said as a waiting customer remarked, “Now you’re doing hot sandwiches. Wow! That’s exciting!” We were a little dubious about having a pressed grilled cheese; the only pressed sandwich that really gets us going is a good cubano.

But when we returned from exploring the market and saw and smelled the pungent slices of golden cheese sitting atop of split Sullivan Street Bakery ciabattas we were starting to get more than a little excited.

“This isn’t the standard cheese to use for a grilled cheese,” Jeffrey remarked as he splashed some olive oil from Frankies 457 on the bread and placed a few slices of Bee ’N Beez from Rick’s Picks before adding the top piece of ciabatta and closing the press. Indeed, Grayson is certainly a far cry from the Velveeta of our childhood grilled cheeses. The washed-rind cheese from Virginia’s Meadow Creek Dairy has a slightly funky, tangy flavor, sort of a milder Taleggio. But the aroma of the gooey Grayson as it cooked away on the press soon had us convinced.

The end result was worth the wait. Crunchy crackly bread encased the funky oozing cheese with the sweetness of the pickles singing through. All in all, a perfect grown-up snack.

Saxelby Cheesemongers, Essex Street Market, 120 Essex Street