The magnificent Murray's Cheese Shop, ever-expanding on Bleecker Street and one of the best food stores in all of New York City, teams up with one of our long-time favorite fromagers Tia Keenan (of Hells Kitchen's Casellula renown) to create a lively, inexpensive cafe where every item on the menu oozes awesome cheese? In a word: sold! To top it off, Barclay Tower residents are only three subway stops away from this cheese haven. Yes, Murray's Cheese Bar has just opened a few doors over from the ever-expanding Murray's mothership on Bleecker Street and, so, obviously, we went down there for an insanely cheesy dinner as soon as we could. Which was on night number three. And we left five lusciously lactose-laden courses later, supremely satisfied.
Murray’s Cheese Shop Lends Plenty of Fromage to the Murray’s Cheese Bar Menu
On one side of Chef Tia Keenan's Murray's Cheese Bar menu you'll find… cheese. Lots and lots of cheese, in categories such as Soft Ripened, Washed Rind, Firm, and Blue, nearly 50 varieties in all, courtesy of Murray's legendary cheese cave. At this cheese restaurant in NYC, there are also nearly twenty "meats" on offer here, and it's all available either by the single-serving or via Keenan's signature Flights (Five Mixed Cheeses and Meats, only $20! Now THAT'S a bar snack!). As tempting as this all was, we're confident that the combination of Murray's and Keenan guaranteed greatness here, and so saved these for another visit.
No Shortage of Cheese at this New Bleecker Street Restaurant
Where we DID do quite a bit a lovely damage was on the other side of Murray's Cheese Bar menu, where Keenan's talent for creating a huge variety of dishes, all with a foundation of cheese, really shines. For example, the Gruyere Malakoff, a Swiss dish that's basically a ball of cheese fried in a crunchy/chewy shell (its consistency reminded us of that great Brazilian treat, the pao de quiejo), was excellent, as was the other item in the Fried section of the Murray's Cheese menu (yes, we went two-for-two under "fried"), the Ellsworth Creamery Buffalo Cheese Curds, spicy little cheese nuggets that were made even better when we dipped them in…. more cheese, in this case blue (obviously). So deep and rich. So, so good.
What’s Better than Cheese? Cheeseburgers at Murray’s.
Speaking of rich: Tia Kennan's Murray Cheese Bar Rarebit Cheddar Burger, huge and juicy with that great mineral tang, sitting on a hunk of dense dark bread, topped with a thick slice of some sort of heirloomish tomato, covered at the table, by your server, with impossibly thick Prairie Breeze Cheddar/Left Hand Milk Stout rarebit sauce. The only misstep of the night came via the weird-sounding Butternut Squash Kugel, a casserole combining Ben’s cottage cheese, maple syrup, currants, masala, and toasted corn flake, which was too dry, and too perfume-y, for our tastes. All was quickly forgiven, however with the arrival of dessert, an outstanding Ch'Mores, a sandwich of gallego (in lieu of marshmallow) and Pralus Venezuelan dark chocolate between a pair of Effie's oat cakes, served with Ronnybrook coffee milk, just in case you haven't had enough (by the way delicious) dairy yet in your meal. If you like cheese, the whole thing's sort of a can't-miss.
Murray's Cheese Bar details
Murray's Cheese Bar is located at 264 Bleecker Street, a few doors west of Murray's Cheese Shop near Morton Street, and is open daily from 5:00 p.m. until 1:00 a.m. For lots more information and a look at the complete Murray's Cheese Bar menu, please see the restaurant's website, here.