AM28: Melting Grill

1PM, 12/3/2022

I think I saw this place on Yelp or somewhere in passing recently and couldn’t stop thinking about it. This Saturday I got it out of my system with a visit for lunch. Melting Grill is a Korean restaurant located right near the Blue Oaks Century theaters, just across the parking lot. Despite the tasty dishes I had seen photos of, making this place look like a full on table-service type place, it’s more like a fast-casual cafe. They offer a bunch of small-medium plates with a modern take on many traditional dishes. They also offer a large bubble tea menu.

When I arrived and stepped inside there were just a couple customers sitting, waiting for their tea orders. The friendly woman running the front welcomed me in before I had even spotted her behind the counter. The space is medium sized but feels spacious and open. Two long and bright LED strips running the length of the dining room provided a ton of light, so much so that I was distracted by them at first and wasn’t sure where to sit for the best lighting. Once I had settled in I quickly forgot about them though. First things first, up to the counter to order.

I had looked over the menu a bit before heading over and had a pretty good idea of what I wanted. I went over the entire menu once more to make sure my selections were there and see if there was anything I had missed. Honestly just about the entire menu looked like stuff I’d order, but I stuck with my earlier choices. These were:

  • Pork Belly Musubi (Slow cooked pork belly topped with Korean spicy BBQ sauce) [$5]
    • Hard for me to pass up something with pork belly. You can order one or two pieces ($5/9.50)
  • Corn Cheese (Korean style of corn cheese; sweet and savory flavor with sweet corn and mozzarella cheese, sprinkled with green onion and sesame seed) [$6.50]
  • Spicy Creamy Salmon (Salmon with spicy creamy sauce, shredded imitation crab, wonton skin chips, lemon wedge and rice) [$18]

My two appetizers arrived together in just under 10 minutes. The pork belly musubi was a pretty big chunk of rice with the belly perched on top. I must not have read the full description because I was a little surprised by the spicy BBQ flavor of the sauce. It was not a flavor I was expecting at all. At the time I had a tough time putting my finger on the exact flavor. On the menu I see a random entree, hanging out in the “Items” section (which seems like more of a sides or catchall for random misc things), called Cajun Seafood. That’s exactly what I was tasting, it was sort of a Cajun spice. It wasn’t all that spicy, but it was tasty. I had hoped for a bit more tender chunk of pork. This needed a bit of work to get a bit out, good thing I had both a fork and chopsticks to work with, because I would have struggled with chopsticks alone.

The corn cheese dish was served in a black square dish with a handle that made me think cast iron skillet, especially because she tested the bottom before setting it down on the table to make sure it wasn’t too hot. Indeed it was quite toasty and the cheese was nicely melted into the loads of corn. This was a delicious appetizer and so simple. A very nice blend of sweet and savory.

On to the main dish, which came out about six minutes after the appetizers, perfect timing. This was incredible. The imitation crab was hard to spot, covered in the orange sauce and blending in with the rice underneath it, but I could smell it as soon as I brought a scoop up to my mouth. The portions were good, although it’s hard to tell in the photo. The salmon was a good 3×4” fillet, perfectly tender. Underneath it was a heaping serving of rice. I was glad to have all of it to soak up all the delicious and creamy sauce. I didn’t really get any spiciness from this at all. The cream sauce tamped down whatever was there. Although I enjoyed the crispy wonton strips, they felt a little out of place in this dish, at least with the fork I had continued using from earlier. Probably easier to grab these with chopsticks but I just used my fingers. I inhaled this dish and picked at some of the remaining corn before the “full” signal made it’s way to my brain.

I very much enjoyed this visit and it mostly lived up to my high-ish expectations, based solely on photos of all the dishes on yelp. I could see myself coming back here for sure, there’s still much to explore on the menu.