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Artisanal


LaurieA-B
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I checked out their cheese room. It is awesome. Some one nearby ordered the epoises (either that or Tommy had an accident at table) and it was really ripe. If the quality of the cheese is as good as the selection, I suggest bringing three or four bottles of really great plonk and ordering wave after wave of cheeses until you slid slowly off your chair on to the floor with a smile on your face. Are you game, Wilfrid?

As an aside, I have learned to ask for the cheese "sommelier" before I order cheese there. I have found a number of cheeses to be not quite ripe enough (I am sure due to the volume of cheese they serve)...and rather than be disappointed...I ask what is really ripe and ready to serve. The waiters generally aren't aware of what is ripe and what is not...

Advice from Southern girl noted.

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Thanx to all who contributed and piqued my interest.

Had brunch on Sat. Wife had the gnocchi and pancakes while I tried Salmon and chicken pillard (sp??). Overall good, wife as usual ordered the better stuff. we liked it, especially for the price. Not bad for a neighborhood diner. will go back.

vivin

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  • 3 weeks later...

A quartet of eGers, Nina, LXT, AHR and yours truly enjoyed an all cheese, all the time lunch at Artisanal yesterday. Seated at two small marble topped tables at banquettes by the bar, we demolished three plates of cheeses, in the following order:

Plate #1

istara, france

garroxa, spain

reblecon, france

piave, italy

hoch ybrig, swizerland

bra, italy

Plate #2

berkswell,england

monte enebro, spain

brescianella stagionata, italy

camembert, france

cashel blue, ireland

brillat savarin, france

pont l'eveque, france

Plate #3

livarot, france

ardrahan, ireland

kikorangi, new zealand

valdeon, spain

schafreblochon, switzerland

epoisses, france

Wine: Marsannay "Cloy de Roy" 1999 Rene Bouvier

We left the selection up to the cheese specialist, giving her a few choices. The cheese and wine were accompanied by lots of bread and butter, plates of thinly sliced apples and pears, and bunches of grapes. Nina also had a green salad.

All the cheeses were ripe and ready to eat. the progression was from mildest to strongest on each plate and from mildest to strongest from plate to plate.

Service was mostly attentive, once the bartender decided to take us under his wing. The bar area is much quieter than the open table area, and we had it pretty much to ourselves. I recommend it for this kind of meal. Overall, the only disapointment was the quality of the bread--the baguettes were not the best or crispest, and the butter was not up to my favorite Normandy butter standards.

The wine, recommended by the bar tender was a perfect accompanyment. Fruity, dry finish, not cloying or over rich, it held up through two bottles and all the cheese.

One dessert was ordered (babahs au rhum) which was sampled by all, and a double expreso sent me on my way...

For any cheese lover, I recommend doing this at least one every couple of months.

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And I had a glass of muscato d'asti at the end, which was lovely. As was the company...and oh, the cheeses...

Jaybee is right. It must be done not too infrequently. It fills a need that I forget I even have until those cheeses appear in front of me...and then I think - what took me so long?

And I agree, to eat this way at Artisanal is really nice - there's never anybody eating in the bar area at lunch, it's a bit more casual, and it's a lot quieter than the main part of the dining room.

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Since my relatively good health never underwent the challenges of Tourettes Syndrome, I may not fully appreciate the agony some participants are going through on this thread; therefore I deeply apologize for the interruption. :smile:

As Nina noted, the noise level was certainly less intrusive in the bar area then in the main hall, and I was relieved to know that I finally didn’t have to pretend to understand the course of the neighboring conversation by politely nodding my head without any definite indication of whether I should’ve shaken it instead.

There were several discoveries for me at that lunch. One of them was Garrotxa, a Spanish goat cheese. It had a grayish, sort of velvety mold on the rind and an ivory white interior with a creamy but fairly compact texture. I was surprised by a somewhat unusual but quite pleasant mild flavor with a little nutty (walnuts?) nuance and a sour and at the same time bitter aftertaste, which almost gave it a smoky aroma. It went perfectly with the fruits we ordered. Artisanal description: Mild, Crumbly, Buttery

I also enjoyed Piave, an Italian aged cheese made from cow’s milk. It reminded some of a mild version of Parmesan. The interior was compact with little crunchy crystals inside. It had a strong fruity flavor, which became a subject of our different preferences. Some, for example, favored a more intense, aged flavor to a sweet one. Artisanal description: Hard, Fruity and Crystalline.

The bartender praised Hoch Ybrig, which was excellent, and our French lady, “cheese specialist,” favored Monte Enebro which was certainly a treat. I dropped by Zabar‘s the same day to check on cheese availability, and I was certainly disappointed that even the name Monte Enebro didn’t sound familiar to the “cheese master” behind the counter. What are the stores that carry Monte Enebro besides Artisinal’s take-out counter?

Well, as Francois Rabelais said and our maitresse de fromage confirmed there could be nothing better then a “Holy Trinity:” cheese, wine and bread.

Nesita - I didn’t think that our cheeses were underripe. They certainly were not runny either, but rather oozed thickly. Interestingly, our maitresse de fromage didn’t hesitate to point our attention to how perfectly ripe our selection was.

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  • 1 month later...

Despite the blatant warnings on the board about Artisanal's fondues, I ordered the Stilton with Sauternes combination during lunch today. It was very poor. The blue was clumped, and did not adhere meaningfully or smoothly to the small bread pieces accompanying it. The flavor of the Stilton melted was also not particularly appealing, despite my generally liking that cheese. The crudites (raw brocholi, carrots, celery stalks, radishes, etc) we ordered as a side were also mediocre. :sad:

Our party consisted of only two people. We shared a $20.02 prix fixe lunch progression prior to the fondue, with the restaurant being helpful in splitting the portions into two good-sized plates. The gnocchi mentioned by Matt Zito was fairly good, but the scrambled eggs with boudin blanc entree contained eggs that were a bit grainy and not sufficiently smooth and luscious-tasting. The boudin was also slightly mushy on the inside for my subjecdtive preferences. However, the prix fixe is, as mentioned by other members, a good deal (Mimosa was included).

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Well I'm glad we ordered the fondue. Even though it wasn't the greatest. It satisfied my fondue itch for at least a few more years. But to be honest, if we ordered other stuff, it would have been of the same quality. "The fault lies not within the fondue, but within the restaurant"

I've never had fondue, so that's something for my "to do" list (and "places to visit" list).

Is the one at Artisanal the traditional one (with kirsch in the mix)? Does it have the usual crust at the bottom? (I've read about it, so that's how I know it.)

Do they have raclette on the menu? With boiled potatoes and gherkins?

When are y'all going again? Response via PM is fine.

For that matter, I've never had port/Stilton either. (A taste or small-ish glass is fine re the port, esp. given my alcohol preferences.)

SA

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Soba -- Artisinal has a number of different fondues, with varying cheese utilized and different accompanying ingredients inside the fondue. It comes with little bread bits, but one can order sides for dipping, like crudites, beef tips, cracked egg, etc. There is a three-cheese or similar mix that is the "house" fondue, and also a daily fondue. Perhaps at least six to eight variations. I cannot speak to other variations, but the Stilton and Sauternes was poor. :sad:

It was difficult for a crust to form in our pot because the cheese was not particularly smooth or melted down. It seemed clumpy, and became increasingly so as the meal progressed. The Stilton fondue is not a dish I would wish upon anybody. :huh:

To my recollection, no raclette was on the menu.

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  • 6 months later...

The big question you have to ask yourself before you go to Artisinal is whether you want an all-out cheese fest, or whether you want a well-prepared bistro meal followed by just about any cheese you can think of wanting.

If you want to O.D. on cheese, start with gougeres, then get one of the fondues, then a flight of cheeses and some fresh fruit. If you want to go the other way, I can't help, as I never have.

Chief Scientist / Amateur Cook

MadVal, Seattle, WA

Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code

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oh shit, just sit at the bar and do a cheese/wine tasting. you won't leave hungry, and, if you're like me, you'll walk away with some knowledge of cheese, wine, and how they interact. Artisanal is a great place to do this, and on saturday afternoon, it won't be crowded.

enjoy.

Edited by tommy (log)
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Yes to whatever everyone else has said. And: if they have the skate grenobloise with blood oranges and cauliflower, GET THAT!!!! It was the best skate I've ever had. (Oh, no, I don't get hyper about dishes. :wink: ) Also, they had great gnocchi with mushrooms. And the gougere (cream-puff dough with cheese) are always fun.

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Going to see a show with my sister, newly-turned eighteen year old son, and fifteen year old daughter... so Tommy, it's not exactly a sit-at- the- bar- till- we- fall- off trip... :cool: but I'll keep that in mind next time I go.... Wonder if they will let me sing tunes from A Chorus Line.... nope, that's for another thread, another day....

We are a mixed bag here, but all love cheese.... Sis and I love wine...the other two had better not....

Thanks for the suggestions so far...keep 'em coming.... :smile:

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Going to see a show with my sister, newly-turned eighteen year old son, and fifteen year old daughter...  so Tommy, it's not exactly a sit-at- the- bar- till- we- fall- off trip... :cool: but I'll keep that in mind next time I go....

15 and 18? yeah, you wouldn't want to be embarrassed by being the first one sliding off the stool. :wink:

however, i'd definitely find a way to have at least 3 different cheeses. 6. 9. why not?

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Just a follow up on our recent dinner there.

Food:

The meek amongst us ate swiss cheese fondue, which was as mild as mother's milk. Next time the meek said they would venture for a bolder choice (perhaps the Stilton?) The gougeres (goozh air) were tasty little fried cream puff shells, with a flavor reminiscent of cheese nips. They went well with my cocktail. After reading the excellent EG article about mixology, I ordered the famous Lemon Drop. It tasted like straight vodka, and since I am not much of a drinker it put me in a very silly mood for the rest of the meal. Also as an app, we had the onion soup. This was just right! Three cheeses- gruyere, mozzarella and parmesan forming a luscious gooey crust on top with rich stock and properly cooked onions in the soup below. Well done.

Since we were of varying levels of hunger, we shared the rest of our food. A 3-cheese plate arrived containing a bleu, an 80% cream something, and some sort of parmesan reggiano... but by this time I was now drinking a glass of Chat Grezan and my memory is a bit foggy... (they have a great number of wines by the glass)

My daughter said the macaroni and cheese was the cheesiest she has ever had (I think that means it was good). The hanger steak and frites were perfect bistro food. The steak was tasty and tender, cooked a perfect medium rare with a nice brown onion sauce... The frites were thin and nicely hot but they must also be magical because they disappeared mysteriously from my plate when my sister shouted at me "Look, in the cheese cave I think that's Tony Bourdain..." sigh, it wasn't... :sad:

The dessert chocolate fondue was good quality warmed chocolate with fun dippers like (homemade-like) marshamallows, fruit and very orangey mini madeleines. Kid stuff..but heck, we had the kids... We also shared profiteroles which would have been better covered in the same fondue sauce rather than the cold chocolate sauce that covered them.... So of course the profiteroles got dunked in the fondue pot as well.... yum...

The cheese cave and take out counter were fascinating. Never saw so many different types of exotic cheese. It was difficult to know what to try... but the fromagier was helpful and doled out many samples. Definitely visit the counter before ordering your cheese.

Service:

It was good overall. Upon request, a fromagier and sommelier stopped by to answer our questions about cheese and wine pairings. If I return again with some bolder dining companions I would consider ordering one of the special cheese/wine pairings listed on the menu. We never lacked for bread or water, and we found the staff's demeanor pleasant.

Artisanal was a very good dining experience, worth a return trip.

By the way, we saw the Broadway show, The Play What I Wrote. It was extremely funny (our special mystery star was Eric McCormack of Will & Grace). We all need a good laugh now and again...I highly recommend it. :smile:

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  • 4 months later...

There are a number of threads on Artisanal, but I'll continue this one because it discusses vaginas.

I went to Artisinal last night. Good, but not great. Large, beautiful room. Stunning hostess. Excellent cheese. Really great selection.

We started with a fondue of hoch ybrig with dates. Very good mix. Strong flavor tempered by a mild sweetness from the dates. Enough to enjoy, not too much to get sick of it.

I had the skate. A nice sized piece, well crisped on the outside. The meat was a little too soft for my liking -- I expect skate to have more ropy texture. It was served on a bold red bed of cauliflower tips in a cranberry sauce. (???) I liked this, notwithstanding my aversion for fruits with entrees. There was also a quenelle of what appeared to be cauliflower puree that was too soft and underspiced to add anything.

My companion had a niciose salad with looked fine, but nothing exciting.

We finished with six cheeses: Reblochon, Braciatolia Staggionata (i'm not close on that one), tallegio, aged gouda, garrotxa and one that I'm blanking on. All were terrific. Especially the aged gouda which really surprised me. (There's so much bad gouda out there.)

We also had a bottle of bordeaux (i can't remember) which I found to be too thin.

Edited by Stone (log)
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The skate used to have blood orange in the sauce -- maybe that's what you thought was cranberry? (Probably a frozen puree at this time of year.) Did it also have capers and little croutons? And damn, I thought the exact same thing about the cauliflower puree -- you'd think they'd have fixed it by now. :sad:

To get the crust, they dip it in milk and then Wondra.

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The skate used to have blood orange in the sauce -- maybe that's what you thought was cranberry?  (Probably a frozen puree at this time of year.)  Did it also have capers and little croutons?  And damn, I thought the exact same thing about the cauliflower puree -- you'd think they'd have fixed it by now. :sad:

To get the crust, they dip it in milk and then Wondra.

You're right about the blood orange and the little croutons. It was very red and tangy which made me think of cranberry.

I drank much of the wine.

Edited by Stone (log)
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The skate used to have blood orange in the sauce -- maybe that's what you thought was cranberry?  (Probably a frozen puree at this time of year.)  Did it also have capers and little croutons?  And damn, I thought the exact same thing about the cauliflower puree -- you'd think they'd have fixed it by now. :sad:

To get the crust, they dip it in milk and then Wondra.

I had skate last week at Manhattan Ocean Club (a rare-for-me lunch treat through work!) which had a balsamic viniagrette reduction--this sounds much yummier to me, cauliflower notwithstanding.

And, Suzanne, Artisanal is iDine! :rolleyes:

Jamie

See! Antony, that revels long o' nights,

Is notwithstanding up.

Julius Caesar, Act II, Scene ii

biowebsite

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  • 4 weeks later...

We have been to Artisinal several times when it first opened. Though we loved the cheese and enjoyed the brasserie type food, the service was always a joke. We chalked it up to youth. I haven't been back in a little less than a year, and I wonder if the service has gotten any better. We are jonesing for some tasty cheese, so we are going back on Nov. 5. I hope I am pleasantly surprised.

Anyone have any comments?

Anthony

"It's better to burn out than to fade away"-Neil Young

"I think I hear a dingo eating your baby"-Bart Simpson

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I was there about six months ago, and the service was terrible. No, worse than terrible. It was slow. It was rude. We weren't able to order what we wanted.

I'll buy cheese there whenever I'm in the area, but I won't eat there.

Bruce

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Dined there a few months ago, had an excellent meal and pleasant service.  The cheese sommelier (is that the correct term?) was especially helpful in assisting us with our cheese selections.

I was there once, with one other, and the cheese sommelier was wonderful. The last time I was there she was terrible. After getting our cheese plate, we wondered if she heard our request at all.

I've always had great help behind the counter, though.

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