Top critical review
15 people found this helpful
Satisfactory unless compared with better units.
on March 16, 2017
We just rented a flat in Italy for a month. The flat had a really great panini press. So, in a month I may have used the thing 30 or 40 times! I loved it! So, that's what I'm comparing this product to, which may not be fair. The one in Italy heated more evenly than this one. It seems that it was hotter...and got up to temp quicker. It got the bread "toasty" quicker. It had more space between the plates so we could cut the fresh bread nice and thick, load up a hearty sandwich, and still fit it between the heating plates evenly.
The Cuisinart GR-11 doesn't allow for a very thick sandwich (don't expect to be able to heat/grill your sub from Subway.) A thick sandwich CAN be compressed if you don't mind it being somewhat flattened out..."smooshed." In this regard, understand that the top plate is not actually free floating to any large degree. This means that when you DO try to grill a thicker sandwich, the rear of the top plate makes contact first and then sort of folds forward. This in turn pushes the top piece of bread/bun off the sandwich a bit and can cause some ingredients to push off the sandwich and on to the grill surface. The GR-11, by comparison to the Italian one, seems to really take it's own sweet time. It takes longer to get up to heat and longer to grill your bread. I haven't timed it with a stop watch or anything but but I've been pretty surprised when I've left it and come back several times only to find it's still not looking all that "toasted". (I have found that this is partially because the top plate doesn't seem to get as hot as the bottom...for example you can see nice grill marks on the bottom when they haven't appeared much on the top yet.)
Other than what's described above, everything else was just fine. No problem with the removable plates as other reviewers have stated and for your basic grilled cheese sandwich on sliced white bread I think it would perform satisfactorily.
I have made at least a half dozen sandwiches and English muffins with this unit and, although it does an okay job, it doesn't do an excellent job. If you're content with "okay", buy it and it will be "okay." If you've used really good ones, this will probably disappoint you a little.