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Awesome Tuna Melt [swm iso]

Awesome Tuna Melt [swm iso]
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  • Awesome Tuna Melt [swm iso]

    Post #1 - December 29th, 2005, 11:36 pm
    Post #1 - December 29th, 2005, 11:36 pm Post #1 - December 29th, 2005, 11:36 pm
    Hey, all!

    I'm in search of an awesome tuna melt, and I'm hoping somebody can help. I've had a few that are pretty good, and a bunch that decidedly aren't, but none that are awesome. For that matter, I'm more generally in search of a good diner, but for the purposes of this discussion, let's talk tuna.

    This probably requires a little clarification, since that which makes an awesome tuna melt is highly subjective. For those who may have been blessed with the good fortune to try one, IMHO the perfect tuna melt is to be found in Burbank, California at Bob's '49. But working with the knowledge that the Bob's tuna melt is a little piece of heaven that I can't expect to find anywhere else, I'm hoping to find one in Chicago that, while falling short of a religious experience, is still decidedly awesome. Of course, the Bob's '49 style of tuna melt is my personal preference. Many a melt are out there, but these four guidelines shoud narrow the field and give you a sense of the beast I'd like to discuss:

    1) While there are surely many tasty creative variants, we're talking about a traditional tuna melt here... bread, basic tuna salad, cheddar or American cheese, and maybe some tomato and onions.

    2) The name of the dish is tuna melt. If the cheese isn't totally melted and the tuna salad isn't hot, then it's just tuna on toast.

    3) While there's some allowance for bread type and thickness, it must be sliced bread. Anything served on a roll can't be properly griddled, and as such is sub-awesome. English muffins are RIGHT OUT.

    4) The entire sandwich should be griddled to a deep golden brown. Anything less isn't enough to heat the sandwich through and develop the requisite exterior crispiness, and therefore is significantly less awesome. Additionally, said griddling should ideally pick up enough incidental griddle grease to impart that special diner flavor.

    Any suggestions? This may be a fool's errand, but it's one that's close to my heart. I turn to you, kind fellowes, for help.

    My stomach thanks you in advance.
  • Post #2 - December 30th, 2005, 12:15 am
    Post #2 - December 30th, 2005, 12:15 am Post #2 - December 30th, 2005, 12:15 am
    That's what I usually order for lunch at Kitsch'n, even though it's something I usually don't order anywhere because, well, it's usually kind of gross at the kind of coffeeshop that has it on the menu. Theirs has lots of onion and a caramelized carapace of cheese on bread, not an English muffin. Give it a shot....

    Kitsch'n on Roscoe
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    Kitsch'n River North
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    312-644-1500
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  • Post #3 - December 31st, 2005, 3:05 pm
    Post #3 - December 31st, 2005, 3:05 pm Post #3 - December 31st, 2005, 3:05 pm
    I'm partial to the tuna melt at Ann Sather. It's terrific!

    ANN SATHER
    929 W. Belmont
    Chicago, IL 60657
  • Post #4 - December 31st, 2005, 7:02 pm
    Post #4 - December 31st, 2005, 7:02 pm Post #4 - December 31st, 2005, 7:02 pm
    I do them at home. Tuna packed in oil, drained. A little miracle whip and mayo, salt and pepper,all forked up. Two slices of Kraft Deli Deluxe American, top and bottom- fried in butter on Brownberry buttermilk bread.I don't really care for the onions and celery so much.Good sandwich.
  • Post #5 - January 10th, 2011, 9:23 am
    Post #5 - January 10th, 2011, 9:23 am Post #5 - January 10th, 2011, 9:23 am
    So Mr. Pie is always attempting to get me to try the Tuna Melt, his diner meal of choice, but I always say that hot canned tuna doesn't appeal to me. He says it isn't hot, it's tuna salad that's been shoved under the broiler in order to melt that single slice of cheese. But the OP stated that the tuna really should be hot. Can someone explain the wonders of the tuna melt to me? Thanks! :?:
    I want to have a good body, but not as much as I want dessert. ~ Jason Love

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  • Post #6 - January 10th, 2011, 9:45 am
    Post #6 - January 10th, 2011, 9:45 am Post #6 - January 10th, 2011, 9:45 am
    As I was growing up I developed a Catholic school induced fear of tuna salad--the stuff we were given to eat on Fridays was just nasty. Years later I learned to make it myself, adding a lot of garlic and other fixin's to make it not so bad. Once I learned to put cheese on it and let it melt, it actually was pretty good. The tuna doesn't have to be hot; it usually starts @ room temp and gets a bit warmer under the broiler (and, yeah, I'm prejudiced towards toasted Bay's muffins). For me, it's the melted cheese that fixes everything.
  • Post #7 - January 10th, 2011, 10:36 am
    Post #7 - January 10th, 2011, 10:36 am Post #7 - January 10th, 2011, 10:36 am
    I agree with Bean. The tuna salad is at room temp to slightly warm due to the melting of the cheese, but the whole thing ends up room temp after about five minutes.

    For the record, I like tuna melts but only make them at home. It's the kind of thing that is so easy to do at home that there doesn't seem to be a reason to go on a restaurant quest for them.

    A question comes to mind: Would these be better with a hot cheese sauce on them instead of a broiler-melted slice of American cheese?
    John Danza
  • Post #8 - April 13th, 2019, 1:07 pm
    Post #8 - April 13th, 2019, 1:07 pm Post #8 - April 13th, 2019, 1:07 pm
    Tuna Melts please every member of our family and are thus a weekend lunch staple. We enjoy making them at home (and would be glad to see fave tips on this thread) but we're also undertaking a project to find the best offerings in Chicago restaurants (city not burbs please). Who serves a superior one? What details make it so?
  • Post #9 - April 14th, 2019, 2:24 pm
    Post #9 - April 14th, 2019, 2:24 pm Post #9 - April 14th, 2019, 2:24 pm
    For me, melts should be open face. 2-na and patty.
    "In pursuit of joys untasted"
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  • Post #10 - April 14th, 2019, 5:23 pm
    Post #10 - April 14th, 2019, 5:23 pm Post #10 - April 14th, 2019, 5:23 pm
    Jazzfood wrote:For me, melts should be open face. 2-na and patty.

    I get ya on tuna, especially if it's on an English muffin, but I've never seen a patty melt that way. You'd lose the structural integrity of the cheese, onions and bun melting together unless the patty is on top, and that is a lot less pretty.
    What is patriotism, but the love of good things we ate in our childhood?
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  • Post #11 - April 14th, 2019, 5:44 pm
    Post #11 - April 14th, 2019, 5:44 pm Post #11 - April 14th, 2019, 5:44 pm
    I have one immutable rule when it comes to tuna melts: Only heat it long enough to just melt the cheese. If the tuna salad gets warm, that's really kind of gross.

    Recommended Construction:
    cheese (top)
    tuna (middle)
    toasted muffin (bottom)

    I happen to enjoy the version at Prairie Grass Cafe in Northbrook. It's two toasted, open-face muffin halves, generously topped with chilled tuna and melted cheddar cheese. It's served with a small, crispy wedge salad.

    =R=
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  • Post #12 - April 14th, 2019, 9:07 pm
    Post #12 - April 14th, 2019, 9:07 pm Post #12 - April 14th, 2019, 9:07 pm
    Capers are an integral ingredient
  • Post #13 - April 15th, 2019, 6:59 am
    Post #13 - April 15th, 2019, 6:59 am Post #13 - April 15th, 2019, 6:59 am
    ronnie_suburban wrote:I have one immutable rule when it comes to tuna melts: Only heat it long enough to just melt the cheese. If the tuna gets warm, that's really kind of gross.
    =R=


    Hot tuna (unless we're talking about Jorma Kaukonen and Jack Cassidy) seems to be a turn-off for many people. Me, I like Carolyn's tuna noodle casserole (fresh mushrooms, peas and celery, a white sauce, sprinkled with grated parm and French's fried onions). I do, however, find it largely indefensible except on the basis of personal taste.

    hot tuna.jpg Tuna noodle casserole
    “Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs anywhere. Everybody’s gonna die. Come watch TV?”
  • Post #14 - April 15th, 2019, 12:05 pm
    Post #14 - April 15th, 2019, 12:05 pm Post #14 - April 15th, 2019, 12:05 pm
    When will we, as humans, just all agree that hot cheese on tuna salad is unacceptable?

    However:
    I was on the hunt for the Grouper Reuben a few weeks ago when I was in Florida. I found several at nearby joints, but just never seemed to get a hold of one. I'm dying to try one.
    We cannot be friends if you do not know the difference between Mayo and Miracle Whip.
  • Post #15 - April 15th, 2019, 12:09 pm
    Post #15 - April 15th, 2019, 12:09 pm Post #15 - April 15th, 2019, 12:09 pm
    It isn't super traditional, but Owen and Engine has a great sandwich they call a Tuna Melt. It's got sliced hard boiled egg and anchovy for a twist with melted cheddar cheese. The bread is fantastic (rye/everything). The downside is that it is only available on their Saturday lunch menu.
  • Post #16 - April 15th, 2019, 1:39 pm
    Post #16 - April 15th, 2019, 1:39 pm Post #16 - April 15th, 2019, 1:39 pm
    David Hammond wrote:
    ronnie_suburban wrote:I have one immutable rule when it comes to tuna melts: Only heat it long enough to just melt the cheese. If the tuna salad gets warm, that's really kind of gross.
    =R=


    Hot tuna (unless we're talking about Jorma Kaukonen and Jack Cassidy) seems to be a turn-off for many people. Me, I like Carolyn's tuna noodle casserole (fresh mushrooms, peas and celery, a white sauce, sprinkled with grated parm and French's fried onions). I do, however, find it largely indefensible except on the basis of personal taste.

    I wouldn't have a problem with this. It's something specifically about eating a mayo-based salad, one I'm quite accustomed to eating cold, that's off-putting. But in a casserole scenario, the same (admittedly, arbitrary) parameters wouldn't necessarily apply. I think I'd be ok with the tuna being warm in that case.

    =R=
    Gardening is a bloodsport --Meghan Kleeman

    Why don't you take these profiteroles and put them up your shi'-ta-holes? --Jemaine & Bret

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #17 - April 15th, 2019, 2:05 pm
    Post #17 - April 15th, 2019, 2:05 pm Post #17 - April 15th, 2019, 2:05 pm
    I had the tuna melt from The Ruin Daily last week. Per their menu: Tuna salad & sliced pickles on a grilled cheese. The grilled cheese is swiss and cheddar on parmesan-crusted sourdough. The grilled cheese alone is a great sandwich, but the tuna melt sounded good. The pickles definitely are needed to give some acidity. I thought it was a tasty sandwich.

    The Ruin Daily
    328 S Jefferson
    Chicago, IL 60661
    https://www.theruindaily.com/menu#lunch
    -Mary
  • Post #18 - April 15th, 2019, 2:29 pm
    Post #18 - April 15th, 2019, 2:29 pm Post #18 - April 15th, 2019, 2:29 pm
    As we're talking around the tuna salad here, I feel I must admit that my latest twist on this classic is to add sardines, a very flavorful fish, to the tuna, a less than full-flavored fish. Amping up the fishiness makes it possible to add even more wasabi to the mix.
    “Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs anywhere. Everybody’s gonna die. Come watch TV?”
  • Post #19 - April 15th, 2019, 2:49 pm
    Post #19 - April 15th, 2019, 2:49 pm Post #19 - April 15th, 2019, 2:49 pm
    David Hammond wrote:As we're talking around the tuna salad here, I feel I must admit that my latest twist on this classic is to add sardines, a very flavorful fish, to the tuna, a less than full-flavored fish. Amping up the fishiness makes it possible to add even more wasabi to the mix.


    Awesome. Do you use mayo with the wasabi? kewpie? And there are now so many fancy tinned sardines - if you've got a rec, would love to know!
  • Post #20 - April 15th, 2019, 2:55 pm
    Post #20 - April 15th, 2019, 2:55 pm Post #20 - April 15th, 2019, 2:55 pm
    annak wrote:Tuna Melts please every member of our family and are thus a weekend lunch staple. We enjoy making them at home (and would be glad to see fave tips on this thread) but we're also undertaking a project to find the best offerings in Chicago restaurants (city not burbs please). Who serves a superior one? What details make it so?


    Spinning J has a really good tuna melt. Their bread is exceptional and the heavy use of housemade pickles and dill keep things very bright.
  • Post #21 - April 15th, 2019, 3:16 pm
    Post #21 - April 15th, 2019, 3:16 pm Post #21 - April 15th, 2019, 3:16 pm
    annak wrote:
    David Hammond wrote:As we're talking around the tuna salad here, I feel I must admit that my latest twist on this classic is to add sardines, a very flavorful fish, to the tuna, a less than full-flavored fish. Amping up the fishiness makes it possible to add even more wasabi to the mix.


    Awesome. Do you use mayo with the wasabi? kewpie? And there are now so many fancy tinned sardines - if you've got a rec, would love to know!


    Yes, use mayo (old school: Hellman's); for everyday tinned sardines, we've been happy with Season (wild-caught, sustainable) from Costco. Not fancy, but effective.
    “Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs anywhere. Everybody’s gonna die. Come watch TV?”
  • Post #22 - April 15th, 2019, 4:08 pm
    Post #22 - April 15th, 2019, 4:08 pm Post #22 - April 15th, 2019, 4:08 pm
    David Hammond wrote:Yes, use mayo (old school: Hellman's); for everyday tinned sardines, we've been happy with Season (wild-caught, sustainable) from Costco. Not fancy, but effective.

    My Dad loves sardines. At least those I have seen at Costco are boneless and skinless, which might fit in well with your tuna. My Dad finds those sardines unacceptable.

    He does like smoked sprats, but that may not fit for this concept.

    Regards,
    Cathy2
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
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  • Post #23 - April 15th, 2019, 4:13 pm
    Post #23 - April 15th, 2019, 4:13 pm Post #23 - April 15th, 2019, 4:13 pm
    Cathy2 wrote:
    David Hammond wrote:Yes, use mayo (old school: Hellman's); for everyday tinned sardines, we've been happy with Season (wild-caught, sustainable) from Costco. Not fancy, but effective.

    My Dad loves sardines. At least those I have seen at Costco are boneless and skinless, which might fit in well with your tuna. My Dad finds those sardines unacceptable.

    He does like smoked sprats, but that may not fit for this concept.

    Regards,
    Cathy2


    Yes, the Costco ones are boneless and skinless; as I recall, when we started getting them, they took a little getting used to because they're much "cleaner" looking and tasting than, for instance, King Oscar (my go to in university days).

    I liked the sprats, too, in a round, golden can...I suspect they'd work just fine in tuna salad.
    “Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs anywhere. Everybody’s gonna die. Come watch TV?”
  • Post #24 - April 17th, 2019, 8:55 pm
    Post #24 - April 17th, 2019, 8:55 pm Post #24 - April 17th, 2019, 8:55 pm
    -deleted-
    Last edited by Katie on April 24th, 2019, 3:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.
    "Your swimming suit matches your eyes, you hold your nose before diving, loving you has made me bananas!"

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  • Post #25 - April 20th, 2019, 12:51 pm
    Post #25 - April 20th, 2019, 12:51 pm Post #25 - April 20th, 2019, 12:51 pm
    Earlier this month, I visited Hawkeye's, @ 1458 W. Taylor St. and opted for one of its April specials: A tuna melt sandwich. Image
    I thought it was OK. The cole slaw was to my taste also. :)
    Intriguingly though, I do not believe I will visit Hawkeye's again. Its preferred wi-fi network seemingly only appears if your connecting device runs either Android® or OS X® - it didn't show up on the list of networks for my Windows® 8.1 laptop. :(
    The links you can use, without the fluff, or sales pitch: http://208.84.112.25/~pudgym29/bookmark4.html
  • Post #26 - Yesterday, 1:49 pm
    Post #26 - Yesterday, 1:49 pm Post #26 - Yesterday, 1:49 pm
    pudgym29 wrote:Intriguingly though, I do not believe I will visit Hawkeye's again. Its preferred wi-fi network seemingly only appears if your connecting device runs either Android® or OS X® - it didn't show up on the list of networks for my Windows® 8.1 laptop. :(


    Note that Windows 8.1 is in its "End of Life" phase, with sales having ended in October 2016. Mainstream support ended in Jan 2018.

    https://www.forbes.com/sites/gordonkell ... windows-8/ (this talks about Windows 8, which came before Windows 8.1 but you get the drift)
    Leek

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  • Post #27 - Yesterday, 2:11 pm
    Post #27 - Yesterday, 2:11 pm Post #27 - Yesterday, 2:11 pm
    I had a tuna melt at Eleven City Diner recently. Firmly in the "not bad" category. Still light years ahead of 90% of tuna melts in the city. For old school Cellar's Market in the basement of the board of trade used to serve the tuna melt of my youth, but a combination of a new grillman and prices that skyrocketed into the (relative) stratosphere dropped it from my rotation. There was a place that closed decades back, Bill's Grill on Clark just south of Ridge, that served a near-perfect diner tuna melt, but the recipe and requisite skills are lost to the generations.

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