Casellula / Wine & Cheese Bar
Finally made it back here after way too long of an absence and it was a reunion worth waiting for. In fact as this visit is already a semi distant memory, I’m due for a return. I like everything about this place (except if there’s too long of a wait for a table). Pretty much took heed and stuck to mostly cheese so no chance for no room! I love how they let you try as many wines as you’d like till you find the right glass for the moment. Fun. I eventually chose a Portuguese Tempranillo and then a Malbec, this was just a quick stop by with a friend for some scrumptious mustard miso pickles and…well…cheese. And just to document this as more summer and less autumnal – we snuck in the very lovely fish taco ceviche to round it all off. Less stop-in and more move-in it seems.
I’d had a few old faves on the list and therefore wanted to go for my unknown, so I put my trust in my Casellula adviser/waitress. She had so much enthusiasm for it all that it was hard not to jump on board. We started with the Pave Sauvage from the Perigord, a fresh herbal goat paired with raisins. This is the best reason for coming here, the little pairings that are offered and so perfectly chosen. A bite of the cheese and then a plump raisin and you think – but of course. That raisin totally focused the crispness of the cheese. To follow we had a Senneflada from Toggenburg, Switzerland. It was described as eggy and rare and taste wise, that is definitely the case. I think it was my favorite of the evening. Paired with peanuts. Crazy you say? Ah…perfect. Again. Then a cheese called Beehive Cheese Co Barely Buzzed, a raw cow with a rubbed rind of coffee and lavender. I’ve actually had this before but never paired with bits of dark chocolate! Hmmmm, maybe this was my fave.
Next up, a Valley Shepherd Creamery scent-sation, a raw cow and sheep paired with deep fried onions and a tiny glass of ale to sip afterwards. How fabulous is that? Our adviser had wanted a different cheese for the finale but turns out it wasn’t available so she replaced it with a wonderful Studelman Berkase Selun, from Toggenburg again. A raw cow paired with the same fried onions and something pickled. To quote the menu, it’s charcoal-y and yup it was. But it’s these small differences that alter the effect of the pairings completely. And are kind of thrilling.
Being here is like being on a cheese treasure hunt, you find the gold and the rubies and are very satisfied but the true fortune is in something like the right raisin which sets it all apart from your home table. Like bonus wishes coming true.
401 West 52nd Street (just west of Ninth Ave)
photo by Angela Carbonetti