By the time Sunday rolled around on my New York City trip, I’d had a lavish dinner, seen the opera that inspired the trip and battled the snow via a hearty bowl of ramen. Now it was time for an intimate, relaxing dinner before heading to a jazz concert.
My friend Jess recommended Casellula Cheese & Wine Cafe when she heard I was headed to New York City. She declared it her favorite place in the city—and I don’t take her opinions lightly. (Besides, she has a master’s degree in cheese chemistry so when she tells you to go a cheese place, you go to that cheese place!)
Casellula is a cozy space with an eye-catching bar wrapping around one side of the restaurant and tiny tables sprinkled throughout the other. Flickering candlelight creates an intimate atmosphere that could have easily doubled as romantic if I wasn’t alone or sitting near a group of girlfriends chatting about relationship problems. :) Cheese and wine are obvious focal points of Casellula’s menus, but don’t skip over the food menu :: it’s worth trying a plate or two.
The menu has a handful of small dishes (ranging $5-$10) to accompany wine, not to mention the plethora of cheeses available to create endless combinations of cheese plates (all $6/each). Medium dishes like salads and chicken liver pâté range $9-14 while larger plates like the Pig’s Ass sandwich (a house favorite) and smoky catfish sliders are around $11-15.
I started with a cheese plate, letting the Casellula experts pick my selections. The cheese trio came accompanied with passion fruit curd and marshmallows, an unexpected combination that worked wonderfully well; another with apple chutney, adding a spicy/sweet component to the cheese.
I happened to be seated at the bar next to the owner, who suggested the Shrimp Tacos ($11), with avocado salsa verde, black bean purée and chili lemon chip. I never would have picked shrimp tacos at a wine and cheese bar, but I can honestly say they were the best I’ve ever had. I loved the crunchy green peppers and slight limey taste and how the spiciness of the shrimp complimented the savory bean purée.
Casellula was one of those places I wanted to stay for hours, sipping on wines from their endless list and munching on bites all night. But New York City–and the jazz concert–was calling my name. So I ended my meal with a piece of Chocolate Cake ($9) topped with Meadowbrook Farm Cream. I’m obsessed with chocolate cake and Casellula’s, paired with a Pinot Noir, was a fantastic end to a phenomenal dinner.
Go to Casellula for :: a casual, yet exciting dinner or just for wine and cheese. Notes :: Open 7 days a week from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. Reservations are not accepted. Friend Casellula on facebook or follow them on twitter.