While indulging in several glasses too many at Maloney and Porcelli, I asked my friend Tracey where to go the next day for happy hour, as we were meeting a college friend. Now, to me “happy hour” means “half price drinks and chicken wings“. She suggested Casellula, which is none of those things. Despite the shocking price tag (which had more to do with three bottles of wine than anything else), we must visit here each and every time I get to New York. Hell, it’s probably worth making the trip just for the cheese.
I’ll get to the cheesy goodness in a second. But first, the wine list: huge for a place of this size (I counted twenty two seats, and for the record I
also counted thirty two cheeses. That is a good ratio.) The list is also full of really interesting selections, many of which are priced appropriately between $40-75/bottle. There is also a decent selection by the glass, but this was not a by the glass kind of evening.
The main attraction here is the cheese. Each of the 32 varieties are conveniently broken up on the menu into categories: Fresh, Bloomy and Soft Ripened, Washed, Pressed and Cooked, and Blue. Each one is described on the menu and comes presented with a different accompaniment. We tried several, and although the fresh goat cheese with black truffle was my favorite, there was not a bad one in the bunch.
The fun does not stop at cheese. They also have an array of food choices. We had a cauliflower flatbread, mac and cheese (minus the lardons), and some shrimp tacos. The food was all really good, the cheeses were amazing, the service was attentive, so really I could not ask for anything more. Except maybe a second stomach to indulge in even more cheese.
I should mention that this place is tiny, and does not take reservations, so it was good we got there in advance of our friend and got a table early. I imagine the wait time could be excruciating, especially if you are waiting for someone like me to leave, and instead I just keep ordering more wine, and more cheese. Fortunately, we were not in the waiting camp, only the cheese eating camp, which was much more delightful.
I really can’t say anything negative at all, except maybe that those tiny plates of cheese and bottles of wine do add up to a fairly hefty tab. But it was well worth it.