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Bite of the Week: Buffalo Bob grilled cheese at West Columbia’s New Brookland Tavern


$10 (available on Wednesdays and Saturdays). 122 State St.

For Jane Gloriana Villanueva (AKA “Jane the Virgin”), there is no food more comforting than a grilled cheese sandwich.

And while this week’s Bite doesn’t feature her preferred mix of cheeses — one third white cheddar, one third yellow cheddar, one third grated American — it does maximize the comforting potential of gooey dairy and buttery bread.

Every Wednesday and Saturday at New Brookland Tavern is Grilled Cheese Night, which has quickly become an anticipated occasion at the West Columbia music dive since manager Carlin Thompson started slinging sandwiches out of the pick-up window out back while the club was shut down earlier in the pandemic.

The menu is vegan-friendly and filled with fun options — a Mac Daddy with mac and cheese and pulled pork; a Mango Jack with pulled jackfruit and mango habanero sauce; a Gouga Guy with smoked gouda, apple slices and bacon — and the Buffalo Bob is no exception.

The Buffalo chicken is great, with meat that is tender and flavorful and sauce that has a nice balance of tang and spice (and isn’t overly vinegary the way some Buffalo sauces can be). It marries well with the melty mix of cheddar and mozzarella, which provides both a bit of a sharp bite and creaminess to quell any heat building on your tongue.

The bacon adds a pleasant crunch and more peppery zip, and the bread is grilled cheese perfection — crisp and buttery on the outside, soft on the inside.

For the side, you can get mac and cheese (regular or vegan), roasted potatoes (which you can get loaded with beer cheese and bacon for an extra dollar) or tomato bisque, which is what I chose. The soup might be even better than the sandwich. Creamy but not heavy, and wonderfully zesty, it kicks the crap out of Panera.

The bar’s improved beer menu provides ample beverage options — I went with the sweet and snappy Helles lager from Lexington’s Hazelwood Brewing Company, an understated brew that paired well with the food’s potent flavors.

New Brookland has other weekly food specials designed to pull in crowds while its traditionally packed live music calendar remains impossible to pull off, including Taco Tuesday and brunch on Saturday and Sunday.

“We are trying everything we can think of to remain open and could use your support,” the bar posted last month, listing its specials.

So go get a sandwich — or a taco or a breakfast pizza — and help sustain New Brookland so we can go head bang and shout when COVID-19 is behind us.

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