Monday, July 6, 2015

review - The Melt in Westlake Village

The Melt Westlake
180 Promenade Way
Next to Cinepolis Luxury Cinemas
Westlake Village, CA
Westlake Manager Miguel Vargas Aims to Please.

Hardly your average burger palace, The Melt, founded in San Francisco in 2011 by Jonathan Kaplan, is a unique chain of family oriented fast food restaurants with an emphasis on healthy food, food that contains all natural ingredients...and lots and lots of cheese. Simple food like grilled cheese sandwiches, cheeseburgers, BBQ bacon chicken sandwiches, and tomato basil soup have never tasted this good, this fresh. And it's all offered in a clean relaxed atmosphere and at affordable prices.

The newest store in the chain is The Melt in Westlake Village, open since May of this year and run by Miguel Vargas, an affable lad who waits on tables taking customers' orders, spreading cheer in whatever way he can. He is there to serve and does a pretty damn good job of it. He was there on Monday July 6 after the holiday weekend for my visit and was more than eager to fill me in on the details of what makes The Melt different from your typical burger joint. It stresses family dining, putting an extra special emphasis on kids as well as adults. The menu  provides great economical meals for kids like a cheeseburger, grilled cheese, mac n' cheese or chicken caesar salad, served with a sliced apple and including a drink like milk or house-made lemonade all for slightly over $5. Amazing offer!

On the adult side of the fence there are burgers such as the original with aged cheddar, lettuce and tomato with melt sauce on a potato bun, or the spicy mission with Monterey Jack, charred jalapeno, avocado and pickled onions with house-made spicy ketchup - organic with no fructose corn syrup utilized. There's also the 'Shroom with fontina, mushrooms, fresh spinach and grilled onions on a wheat bun or the bacon BBQ with aged cheddar, double bacon, grilled onions and tomato with BBQ sauce on a potato bun. All of these burgers, by the way, range in price from $4.95-$6.95. There is also quite a variety of fries: naked, sweet potato and well dressed that includes russets, cheddar, fontina, and jack with bacon and crispy onions. $2.45-$3.95. My friend and I had the BBQ bacon burger which was absolutely delicious. I also chose the Trio Mac n' Cheese, made from scratch with creamy aged cheddar, fontina and jack with crispy onions. Yummy! My friend chose the T-Mac with truffle,with fontina, provolone, and mushrooms with parmesan. $3.95-$5.95. I also tried the artisan crafted Two Tomato Basil Soup, a delicious puree for only $2.95. The soup also  makes a great dipping sauce for the various kinds of fries. Sweet Corn Tortilla Soup is another option.

The wall says it all about what Jonathan Kaplan started in San Francisco back in 2011.
Miguel was quick to point out that all natural ingredients are used in all the food, including the soft serve ice cream which is truly scrumptious. For those with a big, big appetite, there are s'mores topped with soft serve vanilla bean ice cream. And... homemade milkshakes: vanilla bean, double chocolate, cappuccino, cookies & cream, mint chocolate chip and snickerdoodle. On my next visit this will be a must, as I cherish the taste of a good milkshake and, based on my sampling of the soft serve, I'm sure these are fabulous, for a mere $4.95.

For the salad lover, there's a caesar, field greens, chopped cobb and a smaller version on-the-side of either caesar or field greens for half the price. There are also four different kinds of grilled cheese sandwiches including the classic, the Italian Job on spicy garlic bread, the Mac Daddy with macaroni and bacon and the Truffle with two cheeses and fresh spinach. $4.95-$6.95.

It's nice to see a sense of humor in advertising, and I love the suggestion on the napkins: "Wipe that cheesy grin on your face" and their fun wall posters "Holy Macaroni" and "We have Nice Buns." Makes for a delightful experience all around!

I like a fast food restaurant only if it's spotlessly neat and if the servings are of ample size... and of course reasonably priced. The Melt meets my needs. It merits 5 stars. That mac n' cheese is to die for and so is the soup. Customers are flocking in, because they obviously appreciate good food. You will too. Stop by the Promenade in Westlake, or in Burbank or if you're in Hollywood, visit The Melt on Sunset, and simply enjoy!