Although it’s been open for several years, I finally made it to The Cheese Iron in Scarborough five days before Christmas for a pre-bowling luncheon. It was like walking into a magical land bursting at the seams with wine, brightly packaged cookies, crackers, chocolates and other celebratory necessities, decadent baked goods and of course a heck of a lot of cheese. The place is a European-style specialty food and wine shop that carries over 200 varieties of domestic and imported cheeses.
Multiple aromas wafted through the air as shoppers bustled about as I made my way to the counter piled high with pre-made (made fresh every morning) sandwiches including the Corned Beef Delight and El Cubano. But it was the Va Benne Italiano that sent a telegraph straight to my Sicilian heart – and stomach. It was so good that when I ventured back to The Cheese Iron a month later to write this review, I ordered it again without hesitation.
The Va Benne Italiano ($7.99) is comprised of Mortadello, provolone, an assortment of salamis, house-made relish and house-made pesto served on a Standard Baking Company baguette. After I ordered it, the woman who was waiting on me asked a glorious question: Would I liked it heated? Would I ever! A few minutes on the press brought my sandwich into sandwich hall of fame territory.
The Cheese Iron has a few tables and chairs so my lunch date and I grabbed one. My sandwich was delivered and I also grabbed a bottle of water and a bag of Joe’s Chips and spent the next fifteen minutes in taste bud heaven. The meats were all fresh and flavorful with just the right amount of zing. Teamed with the cheeses, the relish and pesto, this was a sandwich for the ages. I looked up from my daze and asked my lunch date for her thoughts. She had opted for “Today’s Turkey,” served on Standard’s baguette (also available on foccacia) and it was all natural turkey, local tomatoes and house-made remoulade.
She remarked that the sandwich was very flavorful but a bit too “wet” for her taste. She speculated that perhaps this was the result of too much remoulade or that the prepared sandwich has been sitting for a while, allowing the baguette to absorb the liquid. She added that it was plenty large and had a generous amount of meat and cheese and that the remoulade was a nice change to commercial mayonnaise. Lastly, my date though the metal chairs we sat at are better suited for lounging and are angled too far back for comfortable eating and that chairs with upright backs would have been better. I told her to buck up and focus on the food and the wonderful atmosphere and delightful staff that The Cheese Iron offered. I got an eye-roll for my trouble but I have no doubt a future invitation for lunch at The Cheese Iron would not be declined.
The Cheese Iron also has a soup-of-the-day. Just ring them for that intel. The sandwich menu isn’t always set it stone so should you find yourself fixated on one in particular, give them a call before you head over just to be sure. Or…roll the dice because I get the sense that all of their sandwiches are worthy of the kind of devotion I’m throwing behind the Va Benne Italiano.
Finally, although I’m still not eating sugar, my eyesight is just fine and I was overwhelmed by the variety of baked goods before them. The biscotti, the lemon bars, the butterscotch coconut chocolate bars, the pear coffee cake. Shall I go on?
WHERE: 200 US Route One, Scarborough; 207-883-4057, thecheeseiron.com
HOURS: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday to Saturday
WAIT: 5 minutes
WHEELCHAIR ACCESS: Yes