There are few two-ingredient dishes as simple and satisfying as a no-frills grilled cheese. Yet, a few tweaks here and there—melting aged curds and toasting oven-fresh buns from some of the city’s best bakeries—help rank this classic childhood favorite among Gotham’s leading comfort-food dishes. From a fried fowl counter dishing out pimento sammies with collard greens to a plancha-seared two-cheese kicker from one of the best Queens restaurants, these are the ten essential fromage-on-bread combos in New York City.
Blue Smoke alum Amanda Beame dishes out Southern classics updated with sustainable ingredients at this 17-seat, homestyle eatery in Alphabet City. Her grilled cheese folds blanched Hudson Valley collard greens into a zesty house-made red-pepper pimento, all on Orwasher’s sourdough. $7
Seven versions of classic grilled cheeses are available at this roving truck, with a choice of bread (white or whole wheat pullman loaf) and cheese (American, smoked mozzarella, Asiago). Each sandwich takes a trip to the electric press at 550°F for a crisp brown crust and are available to dip in sauces ranging from honey Dijon to sweet Thai chili. $4.75–$6
Husband-wife duo Adam and Vanessa Schneider issue a pitch-perfect rendition of the comfort food at their flagship shop at Hudson Eats in Brookfield Place and a takeout counter in Dumbo. Slices of white cheddar or American are snugged between fluffy pillows of thick-cut, local pullman bread—coated in a secret cooking spread and finished on a flattop grill for a golden-brown outer crust. $6.50
Chunks of mozz add texture to an otherwise smooth spread of sliced white cheddar bookended by plancha-fired Balthazar brioche buns. Dip the oozing sandwich into a cool, tangy gazpacho during warmer months, and a piping hot tomato soup when it gets colder. $9
After issuing out gooey grilled cheeses from a truck, Glady's owner Michael Jacober gave his grilled cheesery a brick-and-mortar overhaul, where he offers a classic pairing of New York State-sourced cheddar and sweet, semi-hard Landaff from New Hampshire. $5
Celebrated Seattle cheese-maker Beecher's operates this 3,000-square-foot complex where you can watch vats of local milk being converted into artisan curds for the retail and restaurant arms of the operation. Its Flagship (cheddar, Gruyère) and Just Jack cheese get sandwiched between unbuttered, whole wheat bread on a panini grill for its house grilled cheese. $7
This 20-seat shop—from artisanal-cheese maker Valley Shepherd Creamery in New Jersey—slings a classic three-cheese sammie with three-month-aged cheddar, Gruyère and Swiss, along with more gussied-up varieties like a brisket-and-macaroni number and raclette with jalapeños and pickled tomatoes. $6.95
You guessed it: Cheese is the main attraction at this sit-down extension of the nearly 80-year-old Bleecker Street fromagerie. The namesake Murray’s Melt sandwiches a secret blend of three curds—some fresh from Murray’s cheese caves in Long Island City—on a pan-baked pullman loaf. $12
Taqueria Maria & Ricardo
This small Brooklyn storefront turns out all kinds of Mexican favorites, from tacos to tortas to enchiladas, for dine in, take out and delivery. You might want to start with some chips and guacamole ($6.75), red or green salsa ($3.99), or go all out with some pulled pork nachos ($11.75). Sandwich lovers will be happy to see tortas, or traditional sandwich on a crusty roll, on the menu—try one with steak ($9.95) or breaded chicken ($9.50). Naturally, this taqueria offers both burritos ($9.95–$14.95) and tacos ($3.60–$4.75 each), plus other favorites like shredded chicken enchiladas ($10.60), grilled steak fajitas ($14.89) and quesadillas ($11). Need something sweet? Slurp down glasses of horchata ($4.25) or tamarind-flavored Jarritos soda ($2.75), or order a tres leches cake ($4.50) for dessert.
Venue says: “Taqueria Maria & Ricardo creates authentic, fresh and made-to-order Mexican food, drink and desserts. We have all of your favorites!”