Thursday, March 15, 2012

Review: Tom + Chee

As you probably noticed in my last restaurant review post of Coffee Please, I like tomato soup and grilled cheese.  It is just one of those go-to meals that I almost always have on hand at home. I am sad to say that I have never made my own tomato soup, however.  I think it just seems like a lot of work when there are so many decent tomato soups from cans (or plastic microwaveable containers, and boxes).  One of my other favorite things are sandwiches.  I do love grilled cheese, but I pretty much love all different kinds of paninis--I guess anything with melted cheese is going to be a winner in my book.

Needless to say, I had been wanting to try Tom + Chee for quite awhile.  As you might guess from the title, this restaurant combines Tomato soup (Tom) and Grilled Cheese (Chee), but with a plethora of variety.  They are known not only for the classic tomato soup and grilled cheese, but other homemade soups and new twists on sandwiches to go with that soup of choice.

A couple weeks ago, I talked Ross into going downtown with me on a Saturday afternoon for lunch to check it out.  There is a location in Downtown on Court St. and a location on Newport on the Levee.  We opted for Downtown because we didn't want to go all the way to Newport and have to pay for parking and what not.  This was a pretty chilly day out and there was PLENTY of parking available right in front of the restaurant.  I had actually never been to this little area of Court St. before with all the parking meters, stores, and restaurants.  I obviously need to get downtown more.

The restaurant itself is somewhat small.  When we entered, the cashier was in the middle of explaining their menu board to another couple who were newbies so we listened as he explained the choices.  The menu was written on a big chalkboard and was pretty self-explanatory.  You can pick a cup or bowl of soup, any sandwich, combine the two, just get one or the other, it's up to you.  I think there was also salads, but that was not what we came for.

I knew I wanted tomato soup, but they offered 3 kinds: Classic Tomato, Chunky Tomato Basil, and Creamy Tomato Basil.  I asked the cashier and he recommended the Creamy Tomato Basil so that was what I went for.  As for my sandwich, there were so many options to choose from, and they all sounded unique and made me very curious.  I wanted to try a lot of them!  I narrowed my choices to 2 or 3 and once again went for advice from the cashier.  I always ask workers their opinion. I almost always get honest responses and they should know best!  He suggested the Swiss + Shroom: Grilled Onion, Swiss, and Mushrooms on Rye.  This was $4 and add $2 for a cup of soup.

Ross had a hard time deciding as well, but he opted for the Soup of the Day, which was Buffalo Chicken Soup and he got a sandwich I wanted to try: BBQ + Bacon: BBQ Potato Chips, Bacon, American on White.

We took a letter (they give you letters instead of numbers) and found an open table.  We immediately realized we had gotten there just in time.  There was a huge line of business people waiting right after us and all the tables were quickly filled.  Apparently a lot of people work on Saturday?

Our meals came out very quickly.  Ross suggested we split our sandwiches which sounded good to me! I wanted to try his also so we each took a half of sandwich and dug right in.

One bite of my Mushroom and Swiss sandwich and I knew I regretted splitting mine :)  This was really good. The bread was toasted but not too crispy.  The mushrooms were grilled with the cheese and onion and everything melted together just as a sandwich should.  My ONE complaint...this was a bit on the greasy side for me.  You could see the grease on your fingertips after picking up the sandwich, which I don't love.  BUT, the sandwich really did make up for it.  I thought this was really good!  Even dipped in the Creamy Tomato Soup it was delicious.  Now for the soup: overall, it was good.  I would say that I liked Coffee Please's tomato soup better, but this was a close second.

Ross' sandwich choice was just OK.  I liked the crunch from the BBQ chips on the sandwich, but they weren't evenly dispersed in the sandwich.  I got one or two bites with a lot of chip and 4 our 5 bites with none.  I also didn't really care for the bacon and thought the cheese could have been melted with the ingredients better.  It seemed like they put the cheese on and added the ingredients after the cheese had melted making them not all cohesive.  The bread was just OK too.  I didn't care for the white bread as much as the rye and thought it was a bit over toasted.  But I did like Ross' soup a lot.  It was unlike any other soup I have ever had.  It wasn't too spicy or buffaloey (I know, that's not a word), but you know what I mean.  It had a good amount of cheese and chicken without being overwhelming.  I kept going back for a second bite :)

So for my first experience at Tom + Chee, I would say it was a good one.  I think this place is fun and would love to have one closer to my house.  I think there are so many possibilities here and would love to try some of their other concoctions.  It was fairly priced and the staff was knowledgeable, friendly and helpful.  I say go try it out! Let us know if you have any favorites!
~Kate

Food: 3
Service: 4
Overall Experience: 3

Tom+Chee (Court St) on Urbanspoon

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