It is safe to say that the making of a sandwich into a “______ grilled cheese” or “grilled cheese ________” is, in most instances in 2012, a tawdry gimmick. The “gourmet grilled cheese” sandwich has been played out to the point of near-absurdity in recent years, with many a food truck, sandwich counter, and would-be fine-dining establishment endeavoring to put on airs and reach a clientele by offering an approachable item under the pretense that their sandwich is a Michelin-star spin on the ubiquitous and universal grilled cheese. Usually, these offerings are nothing more than a grilled cheese sandwich with a bunch of “unusual” ingredients thrown in, merely for the sake of things. There is rarely thought involved beyond, “Wouldn’t it be interesting if a grilled cheese sandwich included ______.” The answer these establishments don’t want to hear, however, is that it usually isn’t.
This is all a long-winded means of introduction to a sandwich that is anything but a gimmick. The short rib grilled cheese from Four Cafe is a grilled cheese sandwich only by the default of the literal interpretation of its method of preparation. This sandwich was an endless delight, and would have been none more so had the appending “grilled cheese” been stripped from the board altogether. The pulled and braised beef short ribs were flavorful and moist, but pleasingly firm. The red onions, softened by the grilling, added a pleasing, but not overwhelming snap and brought a welcome addition to the flavor palate. The gruyere cheese was the perfect component to fasten everything together and add texture and oil to the endeavor. The focaccia bread was the perfect container and was indeed grilled to perfection. It all added up to a sandwich that was a true delight to savor.
If the sandwich had a fault — and I don’t believe it did — it would be that the ingredients of the sandwich were purported to include horseradish, although none was significantly detectable. It may have been overwhelmed by the gruyere, or it may have become a part of the short rib. Either way, its presence was not missed in the slightest.
This item is a part of the Winter Menu at Four Cafe. I will do everything in my power to sample it again in the coming weeks, for fear that it will no longer be on offer when the spring rolls around.