Food For Thought — May 2, 2016 at 12:45 pm

New York’s Best Cheesemongers Face Off Over Curds & Bread


big cheese 1

Do you like cheese? Do you dream about it? Do you eat so much before bed that it gives you creepy dreams? (Seriously, cheese dreams are real. Google it.) Do you particularly enjoy when different kinds of cheese are smushed between two pieces of artisanal bread and melted over a pile of butter on a skillet? The Big Cheesy, my friends, is the Superbowl for grilled cheese lovers. At Openhouse Gallery five different cheese shops from throughout the five boroughs compete in a showdown of dairy versus wheat, curds versus girth, and whether or not to add meat into the mix. Accompanied by the consistently delicious Goose Island beers (we loved their new Summer Ale), this made for the perfect Sunday afternoon treat.

Here’s how everyone measured up:

Artisanal Bistro

big cheese artisanal

This was by far the best and most classic interpretation of a traditional grilled cheese. The only ingredients here were bread, cheese, and butter, and its simplicity really allowed this delectable bunch of Parmesean cheese to be the star it was always meant to be. A three-time champion, Artisanal was so confident in their abilities to craft the perfect grilled cheese sandwich that it abstained from some of the bells and whistles that were pretty prevalent at their competitor’s tables. We agreed, and wound up casting our vote only for them.

Ends Meat

Not terribly exciting but still really solid, it was pretty apparent from the first bite that this place specializes in meats and not cheeses. The salami was excellent, but it just didn’t generate enough ooh’s and ahh’s to get my vote.


big cheese depanneur

I liked the idea behind this sandwich, I just wished someone else had taste tested it first. All of the ingredients were on point, but the particular cheese they chose paired with the speck was an insane amount of salt for one bite (and this is coming from someone who pretty much slurps oyster juice). I was too put off to consider them in my final vote even though I LOVE speck. See ya in Brooklyn next time, Depanneur.

Campbell Cheese Shop

big cheese campbells

This was definitely the most off the beaten path grilled cheese, and was definitely a contender for my first choice if Artisanal’s classic melt wasn’t so damn delicious. This melt featured white cheddar, ham, pickled cabbage and a jalapeno slaw that was out of this world. It had a great balance of meat and cheese, and the spice added just the right amount of pizzazz, but it felt more like a full blown sandwich than a grilled cheese. It was still extremely tasty, and I wish I had one right now.

The Wheelhouse

A grilled cheese with an Italian bent to it, this sandwich was a caprese on toast. Juicy tomatoes, creamy mozzarella, a mild pesto, all drizzled with a balsamic glaze.  It was good, just not knock your socks off good.

big cheese full plate

Twisted Talk: Have you ever been to the grilled cheesy before? What’s your favorite kind of cheese? Discuss below!

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