Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Would You Like Some Vodka With That Cheese?

When you think of a cocktail the first thing that comes to your mind may be a Mojito, a Jack and Ginger perhaps or a Cosmo. But would you ever think of ordering a concoction that's part childhood comfort food part alcoholic mad genius? Well, that's where a Grilled Cheese Martini comes into play.

Welcome to The Cellar. The restaurant arm of Beecher's Handmade Cheese in the Flatiron District. Now I'll get to that intriguing libation in a moment, but first I would like to share my most pleasant experience at this establishment. Walking downstairs you are instantly greeted with a cozy yet rustic room filled with candlelight and a few dim lit corners (perfect for a first date). Exposed brick walls and clever use of old wine barrels for bar-stools make for a warm and laid back environment. The restaurant doubles as a working cheese cellar where they age their house made cheeses.

The service was spot on the entire night and I have nothing to say except "Well Done". The food, though a bit on the pricier side, was fantastic. I sampled the French Onion Soup, "Worlds Best" Mac & Cheese, as well as one of their cheese plates and some prosciutto. The soup was a hot, flavorful masterpiece bursting with onions and cheese that would warm even the coldest of bellies. They melted the cheese not only on the top, but at the bottom of the bowl as well and topped it off with a toasty crouton that still retained some crunch throughout. Mac and Cheese followed the soup and, though I may not call it the "Worlds Best" it would certainly come in at a close second. Made with their one-year aged Flagship and their Just Jack cheeses, it was a piping hot, gooey delight that made me want to do a little dance.

Next up, their cheese plate and prosciutto. Here is where I thought their prices were a bit steep. The prosciutto, while beautifully tender, had only 4 small slices per plate. The Cheesemonger’s Three Cheese Plate had only 3 tiny wedges of cheese along with a fruit/nut pairing. Don't get me wrong, it was all fantastic, but for the price paid, I think they could have loaded the plates a little more.

Finally, the moment you have all waited for. COCKTAILS!!! I only sampled 2 out of their extensive list of drinks and wine. First up, the Elizabeth Tilton. This muddled blueberry and rum medley made me do a little dance in my chair. Not too sweet, not too tart it was the perfect drink to end an unusually warm day in the city.  If your a lover of summer fruits, then this is the drink for you. Then the ever mysterious, Grilled Cheese Martini. I have to admit, I thought that this was going to be horrendous, so imagine my surprise when I took my first sip, and smiled. The house made "Grilled Cheese" vodka, was not over powering and the surprise after-note of fresh basil at the end made it reminiscent of tomato soup, but with a kick. The Balsamic Reduction/Pancetta rim was jaw-droppingly good; like, eat it with a spoon kind of good and the tomato ice cube seemed to make the whole drink creamier as it melted. Overall, not a drink I would get again, only because I prefer slightly sweeter drinks, but if you enjoy a Bloody Mary then you will definitely enjoy this martini.

All in all, I would definitely recommend this restaurant. Its charming demeanor, friendly staff and memorable food/drinks would make for a lovely time had by all. Just make sure you ask for your tomato soup with a side of Grilled Cheese Vodka.

Till next time,

Love, Peace & Bacon Grease <3

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