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Jan 12, 2008 08:53 AM

a cheese shop question

Selling a St. Marcellin in a ceramic crock does not a cheese shop make...

So, are there any cheese shops in the city that have their own cave? Or at least have properly aged SOFT cheeses. It seems there's a plethora of hard cheeses on sale all over, but where are the gooey, stinky, drippy soft cheeses? Please no more under/over-aged epoisse!

I'm new to the area and I've checked out most of the shops in my area in Brooklyn (Stinky, Blue Apron, Bierkraft, etc.) and I've been hugely disappointed. I didn't see much at Formaggio Essex, but will try again since I know their Boston store has a remarkable offering. Please don't send me to Murray's, unless things have changed in the past year. Is Artisanal going to be my only option? I will travel anywhere!

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  1. Can't make any promises but have you tried Ideal?

    7 Replies
    1. re: MMRuth

      I'm not familiar with Ideal. Have you had good experience there?

      1. re: MB fka MB

        Yes, but I'm also happy enough with Murray's, hence my caveat! It's, I think at E. 51st and 1st Avenue; the staff is usually very helpful and has the bonus of not having the Murray's mob scenes, so you can leisurely taste the cheeses etc. Used to order from them when I lived in Miami, and do go occasionally here in NYC. Their Bleu de Gex is wonderful. I've not tried the cheeses from Artisanal - only eaten there, and keep meaning to make my way down to Essex Market. I do think that WF's is pretty useless when it comes to cheese - overpriced and not well kept.

        Oh - and we just had a really lovely gooey soft sheep's milk cheese - bought yesterday at the farmer's market from 3-Corners Field Farm and let it sit out until tonight - my husband ate the whole damn thing - only one bite for me.

        1. re: MMRuth

          ah, thanks for the clarification and tips. I used to live 1/2 mile from this store (you can see how I was spoiled rotten!):

          Their inventory is amazing, but the staff are truly phenomenal as well.

          I'll def. keep Ideal on my list but will probably try Artisanal first. Will report back for sure.

          1. re: MB fka MB

            Not that it will help you with French cheeses - but did you check out Saxelby's at Essex Market? We bought two lovely US cheeses there, and were happy to see that they carry Mecox Bay from the South Fork. The young woman at Formaggio told me that they have a cave on Long Island somewhere, and bring in select cheeses to the store "when they are ready".

            1. re: MMRuth

              I'm surprised to hear about the LI cave... I was in the cambridge store last week (oh, and I ATE some goooood cheese) and it seemed to me that they ship most everything from there (they have a cave and age a lot themselves). I didn't check out saxelby's but will give it a try for sure. thank you kindly for the update.

              I'm loving the Langiole (sp?) - not gooey - that Formaggio is carrying. It melts quite nicely too.

              1. re: MB fka MB


                "Mr. Gurdal said he decided to open Formaggio Essex because the Lower East Side market seemed to be on an upswing in quality, and it is convenient to the warehouse in Long Island City, Queens, where he has stored cheeses for years."

                I seem to recall the woman saying that they supplied restaurants from that location.

              2. re: MMRuth

                Since the OP was looking for French cheeses I didn't mention Saxelby, but now that they've come up, I just want to say, yes, go! It's easily my favorite cheese shop in NY and makes you feel kind of proud of American cheese making.

      2. I ate at Artisanal last week while I was in NY, I loved their artisanal blend cheese fondue by the way, and looked at their cheeses and they have a really nice selection. I went to look at them on my way to the restroom and the guys who worked the counter were super friendly and asked me if I wanted a taste. I will be surely going back to this restaurant the next time I am in NY. Their steak tartare is supposed to be great.

        I would go there instead of Murray's. I entered once to have a look and was dissapointed at the selection.

        2 Replies
        1. re: cricri7

          Regarding their steak tartare it isn't very good. Overprocessed, think mousse not finely chopped steak and was waay too acidic.

          1. re: cricri7

            Artisanal has great cheese but they are VERY expensive at their counter, much in the $35-$40 /lb range.

          2. Have you tried Bedford Cheese Shop? A friend in Williamsburg swears by it. Never been myself, but depending on wear you live....

            218 Bedford Ave.

            2 Replies
            1. re: thegreekone

              yup, I tried bedford cheese shop - mostly (again) hard cheeses and a pretentious staff. no thanks. and a hell of a lot more expensive than they should be...

              1. re: MB fka MB

                Any luck finding what you were looking for?

            2. I saw them today at Whole Foods (Bowery location). They were located inside the cheese corner behind the bigger cheese counter. It is on the right hand side next to the entrance.

              I believe they have about a dozen of them. You may also want to check into other Whole Foods location.