How did it come to this? The U.S. is sitting on itslargest surplus of cheese (and butter) in 30 years, a combination of economics and record dairy production. More than half of all the extra product is American-made cheeses, which is just the kind of patriotic call to action we can get behind. We gathered up some of the best cheesy dishes around the city — you know what to do.
New York-style pizza is a matter of hometown pride, of course, but that hasn’t stopped some newcomers from showing us that maybe, just maybe, some other cities know what they’re doing, too. Take the luscious St. Louis-style pies atSpeedy Romeo(63 Clinton St.), which just expanded to the Lower East Side, or the Detroit-style rectangular pizzas where the sauce goes on top of the cheese at Emily’s Williamsburg outpostEmmy Squared(364 Grand St., Brooklyn). Then there’s the deep-dish pride of Chicago coming toUrbanspace Garment District(Broadway, 40th-41st sts.)when the market opens May 16.
Aldo Sohm Wine Bar is all the wines of Le Bernardin without having to set aside a month’s paycheck for a meal. Among the shareable plates is the baked camembert ($24) is an entire wheel of cheese warmed over a flame until it’s melted into fondue consistency, served with apple slices and croutons. 151 W. 51st St.
One of Brooklyn’s hottest new restaurants may not look like much on the outside, but the former auto body shop that is nowLiliawill fix you up in all the ways good Italian comfort food can. Cheese lovers will be well served by starting with the housemade mozzarella on toasted garlic bread, which gets a springtime twist from former A Voce chef Missy Robbins with lemon and the Sardinian roe bottarga.567 Union Ave.
When a restaurant is named for a cheese, would you go for anything else? Actually,Racletteserves many interesting plates merging French and Swiss traditions, but none more unique than the roast potatoes (with some token greens and charcuterie on the side) over which waiters scrape a grande dollop of melty, bubbling raclette cheese from a giant wheel.195 Ave. A
Southern Italy arrived in South Williamsburg withBarano, just opened by former Rubirosa chef Albert Di Meglio. The wood-fired kitchen turns out Neapolitan pizzas and even dishes that are more North African than continental, but the cheese lovers will want to head straight for the mozzarella bar, where Di Meglio hand-pulls three varieties of mozz to order: salted, smoked and stracciatella. Customize your own Antipasto Tasting, or assemble your own cheese board.26 Broadway
Just in time, Cheesecake May is back atBreads Bakery. All three locations are selling specialty treats each week: The Purple Cheesecake (in honor of Prince) with blueberries (May 9-15) the improbably delicious sounding hybrid Cheesecake Babka (May 16-22, $14.95) and closing out the month with classic and strawberry cheesecakes in addition to the two specialty cakes (May 23-30). All of the cakes are available by the slice ($8) or a whole cake ($37); at the Bryant Park booth, the cheesecakes will be available in small Mason jars ($8).
Spring at Bushwick pasta mecca Faro means ricotta pastas: the gnudi (think fluffy dumplings) is served with spring onion, dandelion greens and an artichoke cream-white wine sauce, while the gnocchi comes with sautéed ramps, morels and fava beans, finished with cured egg yolk shavings. 436 Jefferson St., Brooklyn
The modern Israeli cuisine at Timna brings the Mediterranean just a little bit closer. Though the East Village restaurant’s burrata comes from Vermont, the flavors bring the springtime freshness of the Near East with grilled leeks, white eggplant mousse (i.e. fancy baba ganoush), crushed tomatoes and zesty za’atar oil. 109 St. Marks Place
Settle in for a late night of jazz with Lady Gaga’s bandleader,Brian Newman, at the newly revamped Roxy Hotel in Tribeca. Your companion on the new all-night menu (available from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m.!) is the grilled triple cheese sandwich, a savory blend of New York cheddar, pepperjack and monterey jack cheeses, served on Japanese white bread with a side of fries ($16). It’s available in both in the lounge and the Roxy’s new subterranean bar,The Django.2 Avenue of the Americas
Upper West Side surf shackPlaya Betty’sis finally getting into its element after opening over winter. And while the surfing decor and Old Hollywood movie posters all say California, the queso ($9) is resolutely Austin — and why mess with the recipe that made the dish a classic? A blend of its house cheeses is stirred with diced tomatoes and peppers, and for a little extra you can add chorizo, beef or vegetarian chili.320 Amsterdam Ave.
Seasonal al fresco restaurantThe Pavilionjust reopened for the season in Union Square Park. The heavily revamped menu is a wholesome affair, with an entire vegetarian section and a raw bar, but there’s one dish lurking amid the starters that seems almost like it snuck onto the menu without the chef’s knowledge: Disco Poutine ($12.95), a bed of sweet potato chips smothered in gravy and loads of blue cheese, dappled with serrano peppers.20 Union Square West
If you can nab a fellow recruit to join in the noble cause,Bowery Meat Companyhas a duck lasagna for two ($52) made with an entire half a pound of cheeses like Parmesan and caciovallo, layered between thin pasta sheets with ragu made from Long Island duck legs simmered for hours.9 E. First St.
The vegan craze has not overtaken chef Amanda Cohen’s love of butter and cheese at vegetarian funhouseDirt Candy, where the weekend brunch menu features a throwback dish to her favorite breakfast spot in Canada: the Royal Canadian Pancake House. With a firm commitment to not taking even the most important meal of the day too seriously, Cohen’s Canadian Cracker ($17) tops two fluffy waffles with a savory mix of eggs, gooey cheddar cheese and roasted tomato puree.86 Allen St.