About a year ago, my best friend took me for my first true New York City dining experience to Murray’s Cheese Bar, and it was love at first bite. I talked about that meal for probably two weeks afterwards.
We decided to revisit the establishment this past weekend, and I loved it even more than the first time. Everything that Murray’s does is top quality- from the service to the ambience, right down to the absolutely incredible cheese selection. Of course, I did some pre-dinner research, scoping out the appetizers and entrees to see what caught my eye, in preparation for the evening, and we were ready to order in about five minutes.
First up were the fried artichokes. I realize that it seems a bit silly to order something like that in a restaurant known for its cheese, but I couldn’t help myself. I didn’t regret my choice, that’s for sure. The first bite was magical– crispy, yet soft, salty but just a tiny bit sweet in the stem- paired with a tasty, creamy alici aioli. Sometimes I have this problem where I get so excited about the food in front of me that I forget to savor it, and I demolish the plate too quickly and get sad when it’s all good. Which is exactly what happened with these.
I got over that sadness pretty quickly as the cheesemonger came over with our board. Murray’s employs these incredible people who do nothing all day but feed people the perfect combination of cheeses, and I want to be friends with every single one of them. On the side of the menu, there is a section for “Cheesemonger’s Choice” when you select the number of meats and cheese you would like, and the Cheesemonger picks them out just for you. We both strongly dislike bleu cheese so we told our waitress and she passed the information along. My face lit up like a Christmas tree when the board arrived, with a beautiful array of five cheese, three meats and delicious honeys and fruits to accompany them. Ours ranged from a lusciously soft Brie to a firm, nutty Gouda, partnered with chorizo, Tasso ham, and soppressata. We immediately dug in, cutting off little pieces of each and delicately folding them on the baguette slices, only to melt into true paradise each time.
*I wish I could say I ate them like a delicate lady but that would be an enormous lie and in no way do I regret that.*
We were so immersed in our outstanding cheese board that we entirely forgot about the mac and cheese we were ordered. It wasn’t until we had completely polished off every piece of cheese that we remembered, and that’s when I got a little nervous (ladies, I highly recommend wearing something cotton and stretchy if you’re planning to eat here.) The classic mac and cheese arrived in a steamy blaze of glory, with its three cheeses and crunchy breaded top. Between the two of us we only ate half of it, and even that was a struggle. My stomach was telling me no, but my mouth was pushing me for more. I’m a sucker for macaroni and cheese (which you probably know if you’ve been reading my articles) and this is absolutely the best in all of New York City. The balance of the three cheeses is perfect without being overwhelming, and the breaded top keeps in all the heat so the pasta stays nice and moist, and just slightly al dente. I also have to say it’s just as good the next day.
We paired the whole thing with a delightful and refreshing Sauvignon Blanc, which aided in the food coma I immediately entered into as soon as I got home.
The best part is you can go right next door and buy a big wheel of whatever you had for dinner– I avoid the store like the plague thoug because I can feel my credit card quiver in fear every time I go near the door. If Murray’s had a mascot or a head cheerleader, I would sign up for the position as soon as humanly possible (ahem, if anyone at Murray’s is reading this, please give me a call.) In my heart they can do no wrong, and even as I write this, I want to go back and do it all over again. Their staff is extremely efficient and knowledgeable, and their selection is unbelievable, easily making Murray’s Cheese Bar my favorite restaurant in New York.