There’s a lot of grilled cheese going around. You can hardly visit an Orange County restaurant across the high-to-low spectrum that’s not offering at least one, often a value-added-verging-on-over-the-top assemblage. I don’t have anything against fancy or super-rich grilled cheese sandwiches, but I’m a stickler for sandwich construction. No amount of luxe ingredients makes up for compromised structural integrity, and while butteryness is essential for any proper grilled cheese experience, oily drips really harsh my mellow.
Fortunately, Black Sheep GCB in the Anaheim Packing House has my concerns covered. A member of the family that includes flagship The Cellar in San Clemente, the Cheese Shop at the Mix, and downtown Anaheim’s Center Street Cheese, Black Sheep has a nicely edited list of sandwiches—and we know the cheese component is going to be solid. The GCB in its name stands for Grilled Cheese Bar, and it def does right by its eponymous sandwich.
Manager Taylor Vuong, a graduate of the Costa Mesa Art Institute of California’s culinary program, carefully layers ingredients on bread from Dean Kim’s OC Baking, and after just a few minutes in the professional-grade press, your sandwich emerges, perfectly golden-brown outside and activated in the center (unactivated middles are another bugaboo of mine). The best seats are right in front of the presses, with an unobstructed view of the action.
Black Sheep’s #3 sandwich has literally-made-for-melting raclette cheese, pickled red onions, and a generous amount of puckery cornichons on marble rye bread ($8). Plus, potato chips: Not on the side but layered within—maybe a cheeky nod to the boiled potatoes that are part of a traditional raclette meal. The $9 #8, on OC Baking sourdough, has Swiss cheese, sliced porchetta, balsamic onion jam, and harissa garlic aioli with quite a kick—very good with the rich pork. I couldn’t resist trying #7, The Kid ($4), which the menu says is “just Kraft.” But those Kraft Singles are melted between slices of OC Baking’s incredibly perfect white bread. SO GOOD! Maybe there’s a role for processed cheese in my own kitchen? Nah. Maybe just more frequent visits to Black Sheep GCB.