I didn’t know exactly what to expect when I ordered Dunkin’s new Tomato Pesto Grilled Cheese, but I didn’t have particularly high hopes. I was intrigued by the concept, but when a sandwich has only four ingredients, there isn’t much room for error. It seems an especially risky move when you consider that the majority of this restaurant’s foods are round breakfast items whose flaws can be covered in icing or cream cheese. The toasted sandwich features two slices of sourdough bread, nut-free pesto, white cheddar cheese, and oven-roasted tomatoes.
I guess I was wrong to doubt Dunkin’ because this is legitimately good! I ordered it twice in one week, and both times the sandwich was nicely crafted with perfectly toasted bread and melty cheese. It comes in a cardboard box which won’t retain its heat for long, and like any grilled cheese, you should probably try to eat it right away while at peak meltiness.
The bread doesn’t have a robust sourdough tang, but it’s got more heft than regular white bread and a bit more flavor. As someone with a sourdough starter in their fridge (that gets fed as often as a goldfish but rarely becomes an actual loaf), I felt compelled to isolate some bread to taste on its own. You’d probably only be disappointed that it isn’t more sour if you really love sourdough, and I think most people would be pleased with this milder version.
I love a good tomato but find them normally disappointing additions in the fast food world – pale, mealy slices that you fling off after the first bite and wish they’d been left off altogether. Here that problem is solved by oven roasting, concentrating the flavors and bringing out their best sweet and savory qualities. The first time I tried this, the tomatoes were a bit chewy and more akin to the sun-dried variety, but they were tender and juicy the second time. Both were enjoyable in their own ways and definitely not the kind of thing I felt the need to pick off.
Each sandwich has one thick slice of white cheddar, and while some might want more cheese on something that touts itself as a grilled cheese, I found the amount appropriate. I assume no one would order this unless they like pesto, and the spread delivers where it should, on par with most store-bought pestos I’ve tried. It strikes a nice herby balance without being too garlicky. When I lifted my sandwich, I noticed the parts of the bread the pesto had seeped into looked a bit like a science experiment in a petri dish, but hey, I’d rather the pesto be bright green than an oxidized brown.
Overall I found this sandwich to be a delightful surprise. It’s higher quality than I anticipated, and the only real issue is that all the filling ingredients contribute to a pretty oily situation. If you’re looking for something to eat while driving or on the go, this isn’t it. It doesn’t come sliced in half, and while you might manage to keep it from dripping on you, you aren’t going to be able to avoid the grease-slicked fingers. If you’re looking to change up your usual Dunkin’ routine, I highly suggest grabbing some napkins and giving this one a try.
Purchased Price: $5.29
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 520 calories, 22 grams of total fat, 9 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 45 milligrams of cholesterol, 1110 milligrams of sodium, 60 grams of total carbohydrates, 5 grams of dietary fiber, 4 grams of sugar, and 20 grams of protein.