Most helpful positive review
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Great Grill/Griddle/Panini Press
on October 13, 2011
I don't neccessarily like kitchen gadgets. Slow cookers take too long, and deep fat friers make too much mess. And of course the health issue is obvious with deep fat friers. Quesadilla makers are just a little ridiculous. And the list of useless kitchen appliances goes on. But there is little more you can do to make a sandwich better, than to press it and grill it. So I hunted down a grill that would do just that.
My first choice was the highly rated Cuisinart GR4N 5 in 1. Some said it was too big, and others said it was too small. As far as I'm concerned, if it's on my counter, it had better be doing something good no matter how big or small it is. It's taking up valuable temporary real estate in my small galley style kitchen. However, I feed a family of four. Two paninis at 6:00 and two paninis at 6:20 doesn't make for the type of dinner gathering we'd hope for, so I wanted something that would fit all four sandwiches at the same time. Seeing the Food Network grill next to the Cuisinart grill made that choice obvious. You CAN fit four paninis on the Food Network grill. Of course, the size of each one makes a difference, but using a standard whole wheat loaf worked for us.
Plastic catches for the removeable plates on the Cuisinart grill bothered me. The Food Network grill has metal catches for the plates. The Food Network grill comes with ribbed grill plates, flat griidle plates, and waffle plates. No need to buy extra plates. As for plate thickness, a side by side didn't show any significant advantage over either one. The few meals I've cooked on this Food Network grill prove to me that they did a good job of balancing the plate thickness with the 1500 watts of power they supplied it with. Yes, 1500 watts. Grilled those sandwiches to absolute perfection by the time I cleaned up the mess putting them together. If there was a dead spot, we didn't find it. Each and every one of those sandwiches came out perfectly grilled from corner to corner.
As for quesadillas, I mentioned how quesadilla makers are ridiculous, sorry if I've offended anyone, but quesadillas have always been made over the stove in our family. So I had to give them a chance on this new toy. The results were fantastic. So easy and so fast! Again, one was done by the time I put the second one together. The second one was done before I had time to clean up the mess from prepping everything, and I didn't even have to flip anything! For the record, they were 8" round whole wheat tortillas with chicken, onion, mango, cilantro, jalepeno, and queso chihuahua. I used olive oil on the outside of each tortilla, slid them on the grill and closed the lid. They continued to gracefully sizzle from the second they hit the grill until they were slid off onto a warm plate. Perfect! I don't think an 8" quesadilla would fit on the Cuisinart grill. Maybe, but they sure did on this grill.
BTW, this grill is made by Sensio. Model #679
As for fit and finish, I could not see any substantial difference between any of the others I looked at side by side. Actually, this one looked a little better than the rest. Stamped stainless steel frame, cast aluminum handle, charcoal plastic trim, control knobs and base cover. It even has adjustable feet to conform to your counter top surface. The non-stick plates were very easy to clean with hot running water and a plastic bristled brush, even though a cleaning tool comes with the grill. You also get two grease catchers, plastic cups with a spout, that don't seem to be any different than any of the others except that they are larger.
Overall, I'm very happy with the product, a great little light duty grill for indoor use, especially for panini's and quesadilla's, so far.