We are big fans of Murray’s Cheese Bar and prior to that Murray’s Cheese Shop. When Murray’s Cheese Bar opened, we couldn’t wait to give it a try. We’ve been there countless times and somehow missed doing a write-up!
Murray’s Cheese has been in Greenwich Village since 1940 but the current owner, Rob Kaufelt, transformed it into the cheese destination of today. Murray’s staff is incredibly knowledgeable about cheese. They even offer a huge array of classes on premises. We took Cheese 101 with Murray’s, which walks you through 7 families of cheese and serves plenty of wine along the journey. Murray’s Cheese has five caves below the store and there is a weekend-long Boot Camp Class to include tours through the caves. Everything is aged on site. Let’s suffice to say they know a bit about cheese. And by the way, they do great gifts which always impress. All goods are shipped and delivered overnight.
This is what makes a visit to Murray’s Cheese Bar so awesome. Not only do they have an awesome selection of wines, beers and ciders but they pair them for you as well. And each is perfectly paired with an accompanying flavor enhancing chutney, preserve, honey or even kimchi. They have a full assortment of carcuterie as well. The food menu has morphed a bit since opening, but they now have 3 sections.
The first page lists cheese flights with suggested pairings of wines and beers. The second consists of mostly cheesy Starters, Sides and Mains. Must haves? So far we love the Murray’s Melt with Tomato Soup and the four cheese Mac & Cheese. Lastly, the a la carte cheese menu lists 5 families of cheese with clear descriptions of the flavors of each cheese.
If you are going to taste cheeses, my recommendation is to get the Cheesemonger’s Choice of 5 cheeses and have the staff select one cheese from each of the 5 families – Fresh, Soft-Ripened, Washed Rind, Semi-Firm to Firm and Blue Cheese. A favorite item I had recently in a flight was the River’s Edge Chevre ‘Up In Smoke’ with a pairing of Kimchee. Another great one is a soft-ripened cheese exclusive to Murray’s called the Cavemaster Reserve Hudson Flower. And the Cabot Clothbound Cheddar is always a winner if you are not adventurous.
Often they offer special features at Murray’s. We went in during Cider Week and had a 3 Cider-3 Cheese pairing which was fun and seasonal.
Also, if you’d like to have a party, they’ve got a lovely communal table in the front.
We’ve had a bit of a Murray’s Cheese Bar run recently. Since April is apparently National Grilled Cheese month, we decided to go back for a Murray’s Melt. We remembered it to be so large it needed to be shared. It seems they’ve scaled back a bit on the thickness of the Pullman bread, but we weren’t disappointed. The tomato soup has a chili powder flavor that really didn’t do it justice.
Murray’s Melt Grilled Cheese on thick-cut Pullman with a cup of creamy tomato soup 12
The cheesemongers have started to recognize us and we’ve passed off a card, so they were quite kind and attentive by starting us off with a two cheese comp. Much appreciated. We went a bit cider crazy and ordered a lovely bottle of Duché de Longueville “Antoinette” Dry Cider 2011 | Normandy, France $6, which we’ve had before and really like.
After that, we decided to get the very funky Isastegi Sargardo Cider 2011 | Basque Country, Spain (375 ml) $12, which has an olive brine flavor. This inspired us to ask for a pairing as it could not be enjoyed without cheese accompaniment. My retention is pitiful and the story about the first cheese was great and I dare not repeat it because I’ll make a mess of it. But if you like funk, have them pair this crazy cider with cheeses for you. Next time I write it down. No point in being subtle.
And not to be forgotten, we revisited the burrata. We had it quite some time ago and completely forgot what it was like. Their prep is simple with black sea salt and olive oil. It is served warm in a cast iron pan. While its pretty great, our favorite it town is Gigino at Wagner Park, who wins for perfect freshness served like a crepe with ever-changing seasonal preparations. This one gets points for the deep fried basil on top, however, which shatters into tiny pieces which can be enjoyed with every bite.
Warm Burrata cream filled fresh mozzarella with olive oil, black sea salt & crusty bread 14
264 Bleecker Street – West Village
254 Bleecker Street – West Village