Hub Grub

A weekly profile on a favorite New England dish.

It's Back! Fork-n-Knife Grilled Cheese at Cutty's in Brookline, MA

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Grilled cheese on the bottom; spicy mayo, bacon (optional), Allandale Farm tomatoes, Maldon salt, and chives on the top. [Photograph: Liz Bomze]

Pardon the interruption: I pledged a summer-long series of food truck posts, but this limited-edition Cutty's special only comes around during tomato season and it's worthy of the mobile meal hiatus.

The Brookline Village sandwich institution serves a classic grilled cheese ($4.35) year-round. It's a purist's perfect specimen—generously buttered Iggy's pullman slices encasing melty havarti—and makes an ideal mate for the shop's tomato soup ($2.95/$3.95).

This deluxe version, the Fork-n-Knife Grilled Cheese ($7.75), is a different animal entirely, and a thoughtfully crafted one at that. When owners Charles and Rachel Kelsey first got their hands on some gorgeous Allandale Farm heirloom tomatoes three Augusts ago, they wanted to work them into their grilled cheese but were also familiar with the typical grilled cheese-and-tomato flaws.

"The biggest problem is how the tomato gets hot and watery, drips out the back when you take a bite, and causes the sandwich to slip undone," Kelsey said.

Plus, cooking tomatoes this ripe and sweet was out of the question.

Instead, they reimagined the concept. The sandwich itself is their same trusty grilled cheese, but over the top they zigzag house spicy mayo, fan out the thick Allandale tomato slices (specific varieties vary on availability), sprinkle on crunchy Maldon salt and pepper and a handful of chives, and drizzle with fancy extra-virgin olive oil. There's an optional bacon upgrade ($1.75) if you want, which you do, and some sweet-tangy summer squash pickles on the side. I suppose the knife and fork are optional, too, but they're entirely appropriate here. Save your hands for eating one of Mary Ting's killer brownies ($2.95) on the way out.

Of all the sandwiches the Kelseys have dreamed up, this is Charles' favorite, so he says that they'll try to make them available every weekday, Monday through Friday, as long as the tomatoes hold out.

About the author: Liz Bomze lives in Brookline, MA, and works as the Senior Features Editor for Cook's Illustrated Magazine. In her free time, she freelances regularly for the Boston Globe, Boston Magazine, the Improper Bostonian, and Martha's Vineyard Magazine; practices bread-baking and canning; takes photos; reads; and watches baseball. Top 5 foods: fresh noodles, gravlax, sour cherry pie, burrata, ma po tofu.

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