Murray’s Cheese Bar

264 Bleecker StNew York, NY 10014 • (646) 476-8882 • murrayscheesebar.com

Murray’s has been a New York icon for more years than the aged cheddar in their cheese cases. But more recently they decided to take that expertise and run with it, opening up a restaurant just a few doors down where the cheese flows like wine, or rather in tandem with it.

Our story begins with a robust, spicy blend of Grenache and Syrah by the glass. It was perfect for the cheesy tour de force that lied ahead, starting with the grilled artichokes, which wasn’t all that cheesy to be honest, but holy cow was it good, drizzled with an alici aioli (alici is an Italian fish sauce made from anchovies, in case you were thinking of googling it like I just did).

Equally impressive, and much cheesier, were the stuffed zucchini blossoms filled with spiced cream cheese, roasted corn and placed over a light yogurt sauce. Just killer.

But speaking of deadly, the Mac & Cheese was the real showstopper, making my Ultimate list with flying colors… and cheeses. My daughter technically ordered it, but I got all Daniel Day Lewis (circa There Will be Blood) on her and I “drank her milkshake.”

The sliders were also a solid yum, leading me to believe that the burgers are most likely awesome as well. And speaking of the A-word, the charcuterie and cheese plate is all that and then some. Obviously a lot rides on which meats and cheeses you choose, but you can never go wrong with the sweet San Daniele or the milky double cream. Also adding to the awesome are the inspired accouterments like the maple shavings. A stroke of delicousness!

Another worthy get is the grilled cheese, although I must admit I found the sandwich itself to be shockingly boring. What makes up for it in spades, however, is the kickass, sharp-ass tomato soup. Just dip the mediocre sammy in that red fountain of youth and your taste buds will feel like they’re twenty-one again, unless you’re younger than 21, in which case I’m not sure what the math would be?

Lastly, for dessert, while I appreciate the attempt to recreate iconic dishes with cheese, the Ch-mores fall miserably short and lack the contrast of flavors and textures that make S’mores so wonderful. Instead, the Ch’mores wind both looking and tasting like a cheesy blob. It was the biggest miss of the night and the primary reason I am docking a knife. Apart from that, I’d say it is a perfect stop amidst a Bleeker shopping spree, or for an early dinner with kids that doesn’t compromise for the adults.

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The American Grilled Cheese Kitchen

1 S Park St. Apt 103A San Francisco, CA 94107(415) 243-0107theamericansf.com

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Ya gotta love the grilled cheese sandwich. It can virtually do no wrong. That said, there are varying degrees of right, and this place is definitely doing a lot of things right.

For starters, their tomato soup, a must with GC, is killer. Has a nice sharp cheddar in it to give it some kick. And I loves me some kick.

And the shroom and Gruyere sammy goes perfectly with the soup. However, my one nit is that it doesn’t stand alone. It needs the soup with it to truly shine.

But then the jalapeño popper sammy came along (pictured) and… NAILED IT! This thing is like a grilled dream come true. Assuming you like spicy and you’re not on a diet. But then again, if you’re on a diet you really shouldn’t be entertaining the notion of a grilled cheese restaurant, now should you?

4 teeth

 

Melt Shop

55 W 26th St. New York, NY 10010(212) 447-6358meltshop.com

 melt-shopRUP

Upon entering we were immediately greeted by a beggar asking for us to buy him the fried chicken melt. Not the best first impression for a restaurant.

Unfortunately second and third impressions weren’t much better. The second being the fact that they were already sold out of one of the main things I came there to get, the tomato soup. And this is before 1:00pm on cold winter day. How poorly planned can you be?

The third, was the fact that they only have about 4 tables. Which makes it primarily a take out joint- not ideal for a grilled cheese establishment.

So, with three strikes against it before I even took a single bite, this was an uphill battle in the making. And then came strike four. The Buttermilk Chicken was dry and the melt, if you can call it that, was barely blessed with cheese.

Fortunately, I split with a friend, so I also got to try the Shroom and that was actually pretty darn good. As were the tots. Granted, there’s nothing really special about them. They’re just tots. Really makes me question what impresses people these days.

In general, if you crave a good melt, I’d suggest ‘wichcraft, Eataly, Beecher’s or No. 7 Sub, all in the area and all of them MUCH better.

2 teeth

Eisenberg’s Sandwich Shop

174 5th Ave. New York, NY 10010(212) 675-5096 • eisenbergsnyc.com
20130220-eisenbergs-reuben-sandwich

I feel like such a curmudgeon shitting on the likes of this iconic New York deli, but the way I see it, if you open your doors for business, you open them for praise and scrutiny. Unfortunately in this case, it’s scrutiny. From the authentic rude New York service by grumpy career waiters to the grimy, old-school, diner/deli decor this place is right up there with Carnegie, Katz and Second Avenue Delis. But that’s where the similarities end, because the food isn’t even close.

Let’s start with the tomato soup, or more accurately, the watered down ketchup. It is so shamelessly bad they don’t even bother to hide the giant, industrial sized cans of Campbell’s sitting behind the counter.

And as for the tuna salad sandwich- Christ, my wife makes a WAY better tuna sammy. Hell, I even make a better one and I’m borderline retarded.

I know that pastrami pic above looks really good, but that’s more of a testament to the photograph. Not the restaurant. If you want something that tastes as good as that looks, I implore you to get it from Katz or Second Ave. instead. You’ll thank me.

1 tooth