Is CoHo’s new grilled cheese menu any good?

Jan. 20, 2023, 12:34 a.m.

CoHo’s four new grilled cheese specials — served with a side of soup or salad — offer a comforting feeling of nostalgia and warmth for students to brave an unusually rainy winter quarter. The menu features four options — “Margherita,” “Mac n’ Cheese,” “Pulled Pork & Cheese” and “Bacon & Jalapeño Popper” — all starting at $13.50. Having tried all four, it is patent that revamping this childhood comfort dish with sophisticated fillings can be a hit or miss. While these are slightly more expensive than the regular CoHo sandwich, which usually ranges around $12, most of them are worth trying, even if to merely feed your inner child.

“Pulled Pork & Cheese”

Rating: 4.5/5

A grilled cheese sandwich with pork inside. In the background is a tomato soup.
The “Pulled Pork & Cheese” grilled cheese is a delightful mix of melty cheese and barbecue flavor. (Photo: SERENA LEE/The Stanford Daily)

A standout option is the “Pulled Pork & Cheese,” served with a side of tomato soup. The gooey and stretchy mix of cheddar and mozzarella cheese melted delightfully between two slices of buttery, toasted white bread, and the cheese that oozed out of the crust created a “cheese crisp” that gave the bread an extra crunch. The pulled pork is well-seasoned with a hint of BBQ flavor, and even though slightly overcooked, still complemented the cheese nicely. The tanginess of the BBQ sauce cut through the richness of the grilled cheese, yielding a satisfying and well-rounded bite.

In all, the “Pulled Pork & Cheese” was a warm reminder of the cheddary, buttery delight of a childhood grilled cheese, but with the welcome addition of BBQ pulled pork to elevate each bite.

“Mac n’ Cheese”

Rating: 3.5/5

A grilled cheese sandwich with macaroni and cheese fillings.
The “Mac n’ Cheese” grilled cheese delivers no more and no less than what its name suggests. (Photo: SERENA LEE/The Stanford Daily)

One of the most decadent options is the “Mac n’ Cheese” grilled cheese. The sandwich is exactly what it sounds like: creamy macaroni and cheese nestled between two slices of buttery grilled bread. And it is surprisingly — albeit sinfully — good. With its no-frills macaroni and creamy cheese sauce, the mac and cheese filling is simple, comforting and satisfying — a dutiful homage to the perfectly soft, verging on overcooked, pasta of our childhoods. The grilled cheese, made with cheddar cheese, is also classic and well-executed. But when combined, the Frankenstein sandwich is a unique and curiously tantalizing combination of textures. The creamy macaroni and cheese pairs perfectly with the crispy bread and melty cheddar cheese, making for an indulgent and flavorful experience.

While it’s not the healthiest option, it’s certainly a treat and a great example of culinary adventurism done right. A side salad would be the perfect accompaniment to this sandwich.

“Bacon & Jalapeño Popper”

Rating: 3/5

Two grilled cheese with obscure fillings and tomato soup in a to-go cup.
The “Bacon & Jalapeño Popper” grilled cheese promises a taste of childhood with a little more heft and kick. (Photo: SERENA LEE/The Stanford Daily)

The “Bacon & Jalapeño Popper” grilled cheese is an ambitious creation that unfortunately didn’t quite hit the mark. The aroma of crispy bacon was tantalizing, and the bacon itself was a standout component, adding a satisfying crunch and saltiness to the gooey cheddar and buttery toast. However, the jalapeño flavor was underwhelming, and the sandwich could have benefited from a bolder taste, whether it be a moderately spicy one or even pickled jalapeño, to balance out the richness of the bacon and cheese. 

Despite this, the sandwich was not unsatisfying and was still a step up from your basic grilled cheese. The tangy tomato soup was the perfect complement to the sandwich and made for an enjoyable and satisfying meal.

“Margherita”

Rating: 2.5/5

A grilled cheese with mozzarella and tomato inside.
The “Margherita” grilled cheese is an alluring and inventive name for an otherwise plain sandwich. (Photo: SERENA LEE/The Stanford Daily)

The “Margherita” grilled cheese, as its name implies, is an unorthodox take on grilled cheese. Featuring additions like mozzarella and an olive-garlic-tomato marmalade, the sandwich is creative but falls short of delivering a complex and satisfying flavor profile.

In appearance, the “Margherita” looked more like a standard cheese-tomato sandwich than a grilled cheese, particularly because one side of the bread was not sufficiently toasted. The fillings were both inadequate and excessive. The scant amount of wilted basil and tomato marmalade offered a faint hint of flavor, while the large chunks of mozzarella blanketed the sandwich in a monotonous blandness.

Overall, the “Margherita” grilled cheese was decent, but underwhelming. It’s a good option for a quick lunch without the guilt of a typical grilled cheese, but not a top choice for those looking for a comforting, nostalgic meal. It doesn’t resemble the grilled cheeses we grew up with, and although charged at a premium cost, it’s essentially any other standard CoHo sandwich.

Editor’s Note: This article is a review and includes subjective thoughts, opinions and critiques.

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