Everyday Eats: Grilled Cheese Sandwich at Chaplos
Pear and crispy prosciutto find their way into the grilled cheese at Chaplos.
When you think of grilled cheese, what comes to mind? Toasty bread saturated with butter and stuffed with oozing with gobs of cheese? Sounds delicious, but that kind of dairy deluge often necessitates a post-meal nap, and at lunchtime on a work day, that's not always possible. Norma Martinez (formely of El Vitral) and chef de cuisine Mariana Gallardo dreamed up a more elegant version of the staple 'which for the lunch menu at Chaplos, Martinez's recently opened New American restaurant in Cortez Hill.
Slices of brioche are lightly buttered and browned up, with crispy proscuitto, arugula, pear, and two cheeses: a mild blue, and mozzarella. The cheese is an element -- not the star -- so the sandwich reads more like a highly composed salad between bread. What stands out the most is the slices of salt-encrusted baked bosc pear. They're sweet, with a soft, practically creamy texture, and make a great canvas for the salty pops of blue cheese and the fried proscuitto, which shatters into porky shards.
You can get a full-sized sandwich for $11 with fries or a salad (or upgrade to a bowl of creamy tomato soup), or go for the $8 lunch special, which comes with half a sandwich and a small soup. It's a deal dreamed up especially for the downtown office crowd, because you order at the hostess stand and by the time you're seated, your food will be on its way out. If the grilled cheese doesn't do it for you, there's a turkey club on focaccia, a spicy chipotle chicken on ciabatta, and a roasted veggie sandwich.
Chaplos is located at 925 B Street in Cortez Hill. (map). The lunch special is available from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Tuesday to Friday (Chaplos is closed on Mondays).