Not sure where to go for brunch this weekend? Via murrayscheese, another option is now available:
BRUNCH BRUNCH BRUNCH.
Starts this weekend at Murray’s Cheese Bar.
The New York Times pays a visit to Murrays Cheese Bar:
‘Say Cheese,’ and Walk Out Smiling
Hungry City: Murray’s Cheese Bar in Greenwich Village
…But the heart of the restaurant lies elsewhere, in the roster of cheeses culled from Murray’s voluminous archives and caves beneath Bleecker Street. You may choose a precomposed cheese flight, but why, when you can ask the cheesemonger on duty to improvise? This is cheese omakase, a parade of rarefied specimens laid out on a slate board with compatriots and condiments, a gluttonous meditation.
Rivers Edge chèvre, made in Oregon and wrapped in smoked and bourbon-misted maple leaves, might be paired, mind-bendingly, with pickled kimchi, a cross-cultural match that makes surprising sense: one gets het up, the other talks it down. So, too, the marriage of crumbly MitiBleu — Roquefort by way of Spain — and wasabi-pea brittle, a jag of funk and sweet heat.
Ask for the back story of each cheese, and you will be here all night. Etivaz, a proto-Gruyère, is curdled in copper caldrons over spruce fires, from the summer milk of cows grazing on violets in the high Alps. Challerhocker (say it “holler-hocker”), a gorgeous conjuration of macadamia nuts, caramelized onion and butterscotch, was invented a decade ago by a lone producer in a tiny Swiss town. It is so noble, so refined, it feels wrong to find it cozying up to carrots brash with chipotle, the princess eloping with the stable boy.
If you haven’t made a trip to Murray’s Cheese Bar yet, check it out, and go with the cheesemongers-choice cheese plate.
(Photos ©2013 New York Times)
I know, I posted about Murray’s Cheese Bar just a couple weeks ago, but last night found me there again, this time to say goodbye to Carlos Yescas of Lactography, who is moving back to Mexico City full time (for now at least: we hope he’ll be back soon!). Tia Keenan (@KaseKaiserina) wowed us as usual with her amazing cheese platings, inspired pairings and tasty dishes.
Thursday saw New York City hit by a massive storm — aka a Derecho — with ominous warnings of tornadoes and extreme rain and winds, arriving right around the dinner hour. That wasn’t enough to keep me from venturing out, useless $3 umbrella in hand, to Murray’s Cheese Bar, Murray’s new cheese-focused space a few doors down from their store on Bleecker street. Fortunately, the storm’s power was far less than expected — although it did leave one dining companion a little wetter than they might have liked, and produce some astonishing photos — and Murray’s did not disappoint on any level.
Helmed by Tia Keenan (@kasekaiserina) — formerly of Casselula and now “Director of Food Service” for Murray’s and self-described “Mother Hen” of the restaurant — the Bar offers a menu that takes full advantage of the amazing cheese caves at its disposal. You can see the full menu in my previous post.
The menu offers a carefully selected array of cheeses at their peak for ripeness, aging and seasonal availability— organized into Fresh, Soft-Ripened, Washed Rind, Semi-Firm/Firm, and Blue — available both a la carte and as “Cheesemongers choice” flights of three or five cheeses. In addition there’s a large selection of meats, also a la carte or as flights, and combo cheese/meat flights. The cheese menu includes many of Murray’s own “cave-aged” projects, such as the Hudson Flower (previously tasted at the New Amsterdam Market) and the Petit Eric and Gabietou.
For our cheese plate we went with a Cheesemonger’s flight of cheeses (Up in Smoke Chevre, Hudson Flower, Pecorino Ginepro, Zimbro, Colston-Basset Stilton, as well as an a la carte order of Nocciolo) with three meats and an accompaniment of pickles, jams candied nuts and wasabi brittle. The board featured many sheep and goat’s milk cheeses; as Tia told us, this was a reflection of the fact that mid-late summer is peak season for these. The Zimbro in particular was a delightful discovery, a thistle-renneted, cloth-wrapped pudding-like cheese, lacking in the bitterness that often marks these cheeses and with a wonderful pudding-like consistency. We also tried the recommended pairing of the Up In Smoke with a Kim Chi, which worked surprisingly well. The Hudson Flower is a collaboration with Old Chatham Sheepherding and is Murray’s spin on the classic Fleur de Maquis, and is worth seeking out.
The menu also offers a selection of cheese-centric spreads, appetizers, entrees, sides and desserts. We enjoyed the Gruyere Malakoff, Murray’s version of a Swiss specialty that is essentially a cheese beignet, light and crackling on the outside with a molten, nutty core; Spreads including a Southern-inspired Pimento, Bavarian Obatdza, and Greek Kopanisti; a bubbling Mac ‘n’ Cheese made with Tickler Cheddar, Caved Aged Gruyere and Mozzarela di Bufala; and for dessert, we shared a luscious Coeur de Creme parfait made with Vermont Butter & Cheese Creme Fraiche, Ben’s Cream Cheese and Red Currant Curd.
From the wine and beer list we were recommended one unusual choice — the Mava Roka alcoholic Kombucha. Made in Queens, this is an unusual version of the fermented beverage with a higher alcohol content and less of a vinegary bite, about which we were admittedly a little bit dubious, but quite enjoyed.
So if you’re looking for a night of cheese, whether drinks with a flight or a full meal, get yourself to Murray’s Cheese Bar! And hopefully you won’t have to race any Deracho’s to get there…
(Also, make sure to check out the painting in the back, signed by none other than Anne Saxelby. Anne got her start in the cheese world at Murray’s; this work was created during her time in the caves there.)
Murray’s Cheese Bar
264 Bleecker St
Open Daily 5pm-1am
Murray’s Cheese Bar is officially OPEN. This is the menu. Need I say more?
Murray’s Cheese Bar
264 Bleecker St
Open Daily 5pm-1am
More information about Murray’s long-rumored (and now confirmed) Cheese-focused restaurant, and it’s very promising. Eater.com reports that Tia Keenan (on Twitter as @KaseKaiserina), formerly head cheese at Casellula, will be Director of Food Service and bringing her acclaimed turophilic skills to the job:
Rob Kaufelt, owner of Village staple Murray’s Cheese, is bringing in the big guns for his now confirmed wine and cheese bar in the former Bar’rique space at 264 Bleecker St. Reps reveal that Tia Keenan, the cheese obsessive who made a name for herself at Caselulla over in Hell’s Kitchen, has been brought on as the Director of Food Service for the Murray’s group and calls herself the “mother hen” of the upcoming cheese-centic restaurant.
Poached Pear with Chèvre Ice Cream, at Northern Spy Food Co. (the ice cream was inside the pear, but trust me it’s there).
If you haven’t been to Northern Spy yet, check it out. Impeccable seasonal, local, farm-to-table cooking. And I’m kinda cracked out on their gnocchi.
Update: I was curious about the ice cream; via tweets with @northernspyfood I learned that they’re currently using Sonoma, CA-based Laura Chenel’s Chevre, but are looking to switch to a Lancaster, PA based source soon, presumably since Chenel’s chevre, while no doubt excellent, has to come all the way from the West Coast.
Little Muenster, opening day! I had the Gruyere/Chevre/Leek Confit/Pancetta on Sourdough, with the optional bone marrow butter (of course). I could actually smell the bone marrow roasting when I walked in, a surefire way to trigger a pavlovian response.
The bread was crisp and buttery, and the cheese, confit and pancetta were all melted together nicely, with the marrow butter adding a salty, smoky, meaty overtone. They’ve definitely got the art of cheese grilling down. The order came with seasoned potato chips and I got the Lime-Thyme Lemonade, both tasty as well.
I’ll definitely be back to try the other sandwiches. The Stilton/Muenster/Pear Puree sounds particularly interesting.
You had me at ”bone marrow butter”…
The grilled-cheese trend don’t stop: The latest option for melted cheese lovers is Little Muenster, opening Tuesday on the Lower East Side. Owners Adam Schneider and Vanessa Palazio based some of their creative flavor mash-ups on favorite pastas, like one sandwich with leek confit, Gruyère, and pancetta (chevre was added for an acidic kick), and they also have the option to add marrow butter to any sandwich for a dollar extra.
Via Grub Street.