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cheese carts

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Which Chicago restaurants offer a cheese cart selection after the main course? I'm not interested in just a cheese plate, but a really good selection of cheeses that come on a rolling cart accompanied by a person who really knows about the selection. (Missing wonderful cheese carts in France....).

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  1. Spiaggia has a HUGE cheese cave, which makes for an excellent selection (I can't remember if they wheel around a cart). Tru's cheese cart is very nice, but with a much smaller selection. Bin 36 downtown also has a large cheese collection, but no cart. The staff at Spiaggia and Tru are extremely knowledgeable when it comes to cheese.

    9 Replies
    1. re: jesteinf

      The staff at Bin 36 is also usually very knowledgeable about cheeses. As mentioned above, they do not have a cart, but there are a good number of cheese flights on the menu, and enough cheeses offered singly so that you can manufacture your own flight.

      1. re: jbw

        The fear I have with the absence of a cart is that the cheese will be served cold. I have had this happen so many times and it completely ruins the experience and is a waste of time.

        1. re: mousse

          Bin 36 has a cheese bar where you can go to sample cheeses and drink wine. Maybe 50 cheeses and about 50 wines by the glass. My recollection is that the are all arranged behind the bar - not refrigerated. Maybe some are. At any rate, the benefit of Bin 36 is that it is very conveneint to the loop, and its easy to just stop by for some cheese and wine before (or after) your dinner. They also have a more formal dining area if you are intersted in a full meal.

          Another nice touch is that all wines by the glass are also available for sale at a store by the front door.

          Tru and Spiaggia are both excellent, but much more formal (jacket recommended) and costly dining experiences ($200+ per person?). Not sure from your post what would be the more appropriate option.

          1. re: wak

            Looking for a very nice dining experience (Bin 36 too casual), but hoping for prices that aren't quite the Tru/Spiaggia level. Would like it to be the course before dessert.

            1. re: mousse

              You might want to give Les Nomades a call. Pricey, but not quite as high as Tru/Spiaggia (depending, of course, on what kind of wine you order) (maybe $120-$150?), with a traditional French menu and ambience. They do offer "artisanal cheeses" as a course; altho whether it's presented on a cart or not, I do not recall.

              http://www.lesnomades.net/

              1. re: jbw

                I would not be surprised if Cafe Spiaggia would put together a cheese selection for you if you called in advance. They really go out of their way to please you there.

              2. re: mousse

                Here are three ideas - all in the $75-100 per person range - unless you go crazy with the wine. All contemporary American cuisine and have cheese menus (see web sites). 160 Blue my personal favorite.

                160 Blue http://www.onesixtyblue.com/default.htm

                MK http://www.mkchicago.com/

                Naha http://www.naha-chicago.com/

                1. re: wak

                  I don't remember mk or Naha having a cheese cart (or a memorable cheese plate even).

                  1. re: jesteinf

                    Those two and 160 blue have a cheese selection of around 10 from which you can choose - 160 blue around twice that. They were the ones I could think of in mousse's price range that offered more than a cheese plate. I can't speak to the knowledge of the wait staff, but I can't think of any where else, short of Tru/Spiaggia, that might come close. Open to suggestions though.