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Aug 30, 2000 07:56 PM

Cheese Plate from McSorley's Old Ale House

  • j

Somebody mentioned something about P+B+J on saltines and it immediately fired up the image of another dish with saltines that I really like, the infamous "Cheese Plate" served at McSorley's Old Ale house in the Village (15 east 7th street across from cooper union).

It would be really easy to reproduce except I dont know exactly what kind of cheese McSorley's uses on that cheese plate -- its a white medium-sharp cheese kinda like cheddar but not exactly. I used to know exactly what they used, but I've forgotten. They cut a few dozen square peices of it, serve it with a stack of Premiums and rings of raw white onion and english mustard heavily laced with horseradish.

I know, sounds really basic. Its awesome with ale, and it tastes better the more sloshed you get.

McSorley's burger is also the ultimate in burger simplicity -- its big, its juicy, and its got nothing weird on it. Its also cheap.

If you've never been to McSorley's -- the place is a throwback -- its the oldest surviving bar in NYC (and operated as a cop's saloon during prohibition) and they only started letting women in during the 70's.

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  1. If I remember correctly, even after McSorley's allowed women, there still was only one bathroom. What a crazy place. I assume you still have to buy the beers two mugs at a time.

    Is Burp Castle still down the street, with its delectable menu of canned meats?

    7 Replies
    1. re: Jim Dorsch

      Yep, only one bathroom.

      Burp Castle? Never been there.

      McSorleys is a holy place to me. Its where men can be men and go out with their buddies and get completely sloshed and rowdy, and its totally okay to do so.
      Even if women are allowed, they should go there with the full realization that they are walking into the santum sanctorum of male cheavanism at its finest, and if they cant take it they can get the hell out.

      Typically I've gone there for birthdays and other celebratory occassions -- its a hell of a sight when you go there with 10 friends, order "Ten And Ten" and watch 20 pints land on a small round table. Its an awesome sight.

      1. re: Jason Perlow

        I went to McSorley's about five years ago. I was completely prepared to be demure and MYOB while in that bastion of maleness,but the odor of eons of stale beer drove me right back out onto the sidewalk. No accounting for taste (or smell), I guess. pat

        1. re: pat hammond
          steve from rhinebeck

          Ah yes! Lost hours, mispent youth! Used to "pre-party" in McSorley's and slip around the corner to the Filmore East for the late show. The Cheese plate was always a "given". Had to have it. The night we discovered their sandwich's always stands out. I ordered the liverwurst on rye, came with onions and that famous mustard of course. But....nobody told me the liverwurst was one slice, about 3" thick, soft, warm, and it sort of shook like one of those bobble-head dolls. That cured me, never again.

          1. re: steve from rhinebeck
            steve from rhinebeck

            Almost forgot the purpose of this post. I got so caught up in nostalgia. I believe the cheese is (was)
            Liedenkranz (sp)?

      2. re: Jim Dorsch

        Just to clarify, there is a separate rest room now for the girls. You must buy at least two beers at a time, although if you put them both together in a standard pint glass, I don't think it would be full. If you are sitting at a table, be prepared to keep ordering more rounds from your server - I know of people who have been asked to leave for talking too much, & drinking too little! There are only two types of beer available - McSorley's light (pilsner) or McSorley's dark (porter). No Bud, Coors, etc. The place does smell somewhat of spilled beer, and can get rather crowded & loud. You can expect to wait on line for a while before getting in on most nights & weekends. It can be a lot of fun to go at these peak times, just expect it to be a bit more rowdy & boisterous. For a more subdued experience, go during lunchtime. The food is decent, standard pub grub, everything accompanied by a mound of raw onions. Firey-hot mustard is standard on every table. Sit back, relax, & enjoy the history that covers the walls!

        Burp Castle is right down the street, serving an excellent selection of Belgian trappist, lambic, & other rare styles of beer. Just don't expect to be rowdy here, the quiet atmosphere is strictly enforced by the 'monks' who run the place. If it is full, or if the 'monk' at the door refuses to let your rowdy-looking group in, try Brewsky's right next door. I believe it is run by the same people (though not dressed in brown robes), and it serves mostly the same menu of beers.

        P.S. For a tasty snack after quaffing multiple beverages (besides canned meats), 'Pomme Frites' is right around the corner on 2nd Ave, serving some of the best belgian-style fried potatoes you will ever taste!

        1. re: Jim D.

          If you want to drink McSorley's Ale on tap with an amazing burger (with less testoserone on the side) -

          go to the Corner Bistro in the W. Village where 8th. Ave., 4th St. and Jane St. all intersect...

          1. re: Jim D.

            I had my two mugs of beer at McSorley's one time several years ago, and that was enough for me. I would just walk by McSorley's and head straight for Burp Castle, or maybe Brewski's, next time. And yes, I'm pretty sure the two have the same ownership. When I was at Burp Castle, right after it opened, Brother Patrick was a sure pleaser as he consistently popped people with corks from all those great beers. And the canned meat menu, while a bit disgusting, is pretty hilarious.

        2. c

          There's an old, yellow newsclip from Craig Claiborne (I think) framed and hanging on the walls of McSorley's saying that the cheese is leiden_____? I remember going to Murray's and a couple of other cheese shops looking for this cheese, but no one knew what it was. If you ask me, they're cheese tastes like Grafton cheddar.

          Hit McSorley for fish & chips during Friday lunch. I've only had it once, but they had this nice dipping sauce that (dare I say it) almost tasted like tempura sauce.