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Distinctive Dishes

Bistro spells comfort food with tomato soup and grilled cheese

Executive Chef Kaytlin Dangaran knows she can make people of all ages happy with a simple taste of home.

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  • | 5:00 a.m. December 5, 2022
Chef Kaytlin Dangaran is making customers feel at home with a dose of comfort food.
Chef Kaytlin Dangaran is making customers feel at home with a dose of comfort food.
Photo by Spencer Fordin
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What's the dish

When executive chef Kaytlin Dangaran began planning out her lunch menu for Bistro, she knew she wanted some comfort food.

So she took a page out of her home cookbook.

Dangaran says she loves making tomato soup and grilled cheese at home, which made it a natural for Bistro.

“I make it in the pan with butter and it's such a fun dish," she says of her staple grilled cheese. "I know I have a can of tomatoes at home. I know I have cheese. I know I have bread and butter. And I know everybody will be happy with it. "Kids, adults, everybody likes it.”

A quest for bread

When she first came to town, Dangaran says she and her husband John went all around town tasting bread.

They ultimately found a Pullman Loaf from C'est La Vie that was perfect for sandwiches, and then they started experimenting with different ways to use it.

Dangaran says she wants you to be able to pull the grilled cheese apart and savor it bite for decadent bite.

"We cut the bread," she says. "And we soak the outside and one half of the inside with melted butter and a little salt."

The simplest ingredients can yield the most satisfying meals, says Chef Kaytlin Dangaran.
Photo by Spencer Fordin

Three cheeses

You'll taste three cheeses in the sandwich; there's a fontina mornay on one side and an aged white cheddar on the other, and Dangaran says there's also hints of parmesan.

"The parmesan is really that rounding, salty flavor that you want to keep eating," she says of the delicate balance. "The fontina mornay is the creamy base. And the cheddar is the thing that brings them together. It's got some creaminess and it's got some saltiness because it's aged a little bit."

What exactly is a fontina mornay? 

Dangaran is glad you asked!

"It’s like a fancy cheese sauce," she says. "You take flour and butter and melt it down. You whisk in some milk. 

"Then you take whatever cheese you want to do and you melt it in there. It’s a very classic French traditional cheese sauce."

A soup to dip into

The tomato soup, says the chef, is delightfully simple. 

"We start with whole cloves of garlic, fresh basil, fresh thyme, white onion, butter and olive oil," she says. 

"You let all that cook down. We used canned San Marzano tomatoes and we cook them down with chicken stock for about 45 minutes. And that’s it. Nothing else."

A winning dish

Dangaran says she's selling about 10 tomato soups and grilled cheese orders per day, and Bistro also offers the soup and sandwich in a half-portion option.

“When you order a grilled cheese, you're not expecting the world," says Dangaran of the dish's eternal appeal. 

"You just want comfort food, which is beautiful. And then they have it and they're like, 'Oh, this is a really good grilled cheese.'”


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