The newly opened All Square in South Minneapolis is an unconventional spot. First and foremost, it’s more than a restaurant: it’s also a self-described institute dedicated to ensuring that “formerly incarcerated people have access to the financial support and social capital necessary for long-term success.”
Secondly (and most relevant to this review), it’s got a very focused menu: grilled cheese, grilled cheese, and more grilled cheese. The sandwiches are reasonably priced ($8) and far from conventional—varieties include Jerk Chicken (with guava jam, jerk sauce, and two cheeses), Punch ’n’ Crunch (chili cheese Fritos, Sriracha ranch, jalapenos, cheddar), and the subject of this write-up, the Hawaiian (SPAM, pineapple jam, Korean BBQ sauce, provolone, and American cheese).
The Hawaiian works for all the usual reasons: the crisp crunch of toasted bread pairs perfectly with the salty, chewy unctuousness of melted cheese. But befitting its ingredients, it works for some unconventional reasons, too. The salty cheese is in balance with the sweetness of the pineapple jam and the smokey earthiness of the barbecue sauce. This is a dish that could easily have swung from balanced to syrupy, but the proportions are right, and that makes all the difference.
The Dish: Hawaiian Grilled Cheese, $8
The Place: All Square, 4047 Minnehaha Ave., Minneapolis, MN 55406
The Reason: An ideal fusion of sweet, salty, and smoky flavors
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