Like most red-blooded Americans, I love a good grilled cheese sandwich. But all too often these days, when restaurants try to impress diners with their take on the classically simple sandwich, the focus is on adding items that are neither bread nor cheese. And while I appreciate that such sandwiches can be delicious and have enjoyed more than a few creative versions, they quickly leave the realm of what I consider to be grilled cheese.
At Big Jones, the outstanding Southern restaurant in Andersonville, Chef Paul Fehribach's Toasted Pimiento Cheese ($8) is one of the best grilled cheese sandwiches I've ever had. The housemade Sally Lunn bread is a yeasty treat that is absolutely loaded with butter and eggs. The thick slices of griddled bread have an almost crunchy exterior with a crumbly, cornbread-like interior. The bread is so flavorful that most cheeses would get lost in between the slices, but the housemade pimiento cheese at Big Jones is no ordinary dairy product. The rich, tangy cheddar-based cheese, with its picture-perfect meltability, left me wondering why it isn't served on more items at Big Jones. The burger (reviewed here) is already excellent, but this cheese would make it that much better.