Just because you're honoring Meatless Monday doesn't mean you can't indulge in other areas. Enter the lobster grilled cheese at The Union Kitchen, a sandwich which isn't at all done any justice by my poor photography skills. Frankly, however, you should all be glad I even stopped to snap a quick shot before the sandwich disappeared a few minutes later.
The Union Kitchen
Multiple locations (Memorial, Bellaire, Kingwood)
Though seafood and cheese don't always play well together, the partnership of lobster and Brie is one that works effortlessly. Brie is particularly enjoyable in a grilled cheese setting—with or without lobster—owing to its oozy, melty factor; the cheese practically melts at room temperature as it is, and only gets better when it's melting into butter-soaked slices of bread.
As if the Brie wasn't rich enough, The Union Kitchen also threads in some fat, silky slices of avocado amidst the juicy chunks of lobster. Bringing it all home is a sun-dried tomato pesto that reminds you—oh yeah, the sandwich comes with a cup of tomato-basil bisque on the side, itself topped with a more traditional green pesto.
As good as the lobster grilled cheese was, I was surprised to find that the bisque was every bit its equal, creamy and intensely flavorful. It was so exceptional, in fact, my mother asked for a bowl of it to-go, intending to enjoy it for dinner with a salad. I was suddenly reminded of the long-ago days when a La Madeline opened near our house in the late 1990s and its own tomato-basil soup was an omnipresent fixture in our kitchen, grabbed on the way home as a surefire side dish that everyone in the family would eat. Would that The Union Kitchen sold their tomato-basil bisque in glass jars, I'm sure my mother would be dropping by the Memorial location frequently.
Anyway, back to the sandwich, which eventually grew too rich by the second half. Too rich! I have no real complaints here, obviously, but to remedy the first-world-problem situation I removed the avocado and finished it all off by enjoying the lobster and cheese on its own. At $16.95, it's not the cheapest sandwich on The Union Kitchen's lunch menu, but the large portions of both soup and sandwich make the case for themselves, as does all the sweet lobster meat waiting inside.