Lunchtime Snob: Gaucho Gourmet 

click to enlarge Shopping and lunching at GouchoGourmet - MARK TOPPEL
  • Mark Toppel
  • Shopping and lunching at GouchoGourmet

I'm a sucker for a good grilled cheese—the cheesier, the better. So when Gaucho Gourmet (935 Isom) announced the "reload" of the warehouse last month with a line of to-go sandwiches, snacks and pasta sides (arguably the best sides of all time), available from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on weekdays, I knew I had to pay them a visit.

A pal and I made the quick drive up Highway 281 North to the shop off Isom, inside a strip of nondescript offices and warehouses. If you miss the sign on your left that lists the location (and you likely will on your first visit), a quick turnaround never hurt. A new refrigerated display has moved into the checkout area of the warehouse. The sandwiches might look underwhelming at first, considering they're Saran-wrapped, but don't let first impressions dissuade you.

The menu is right up my alley—short and concise. There are a handful of items in each category. You'll find a meat and cheese tray, fresh burrata filled with sundried tomato, pesto and balsamic, and a citrus tuna and faglioli bean salad with crackers (samples were available, and this tuna salad isn't what you'd expect, by any means). Pasta salads (an orzo caprese, and two antipasti, spicy and mild), four classic sandwiches, and four sausages sammies are all there, as are three Italian desserts for the sweet-loving crowd.

The spiced grilled cheese had Jessica written all over it, with a combination of taleggio, mild cheddar and American cheese (because, why the hell not?), with roasted red pepper and crushed hot chili pepper adding the heat. Sandwiches are available for pickup, but we decided to make use of the tables in the back of the warehouse.

The staff toasted our East Coast-made baguettes to a soft crisp and delivered them to our table with a small helping of the orzo caprese. If you're about that grilled-cheese life, Gaucho's should definitely be on top of that list. It's gooey, not too salty and grownup enough without losing that simplistic essence of a classic grilled cheese. My lunch pal's prosciutto and artichoke, which uses freshly sliced prosciutto di San Daniele, was also a must-have.

Fair warning—a visit to Gaucho almost guarantees you'll leave with more than just a quick lunch. Chocolate truffles near the cashier table lured me in, as did the lollipops with crushed fixins.

If you're in the area, and in a time crunch, you could do much worse than picking up a sandwich and a salad from Gaucho Gourmet, which recently announced the opening of The Texas Cheese Cellar in the same complex as Stay Golden Social House. And, yes, the Ciorciari family is considering adding sammies to the lineup. I can't wait.

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