What to Order at Murray’s Cheese Bar
If you live in New York City or you’re heading to New York City, you should have three things on your mind: Torus, Hudson Flower, and baked buffalo ricotta. They’re on the menu at Murray’s Cheese Bar, the new sit-down arm of the casual but decadent Murray’s Cheese Shop in Greenwich Village.
I made a recent pilgrimage to pursue my wrinkly rinds obsession; Allison Hooper of Vermont Butter and Cheese Co. came down to Murray’s from Burlington with her cheese dream team, and Rob Kaufelt was there to greet us all with hot Raclette and cocktails. What a mensch.
I stuck around after the log-rolling (as in goat cheese log) demo and frittered away the evening over a glass of Port and nibbles from the menu. The Cheese Bar rolls out fondue and small plates, all very lovely, but the real stars are the cheese boards, which are lovingly currated to showcase the best of Murray’s Caves.
Take a look at “The Arts.” It features VBC Torus — which is essentially a small goat donut from Vermont Butter & Cheese Co. that the cave master ages in house. He was there to demo these, and they were a revelation in affinage. I sampled a Torus aged in the blue cheese cave at Murray’s and another aged in the washed-rind cave.
Same cheese, different caves = totally different flavors. The Torus aged amid washed rinds — stinky cheeses, essentially — had a veil-thin crust that shattered like the sugary surface on a creme brulee. Ask for the washed-rind Torus. Beg for the washed-rind Torus. Your server will know you are very special.
Then there’s Hudson Flower. It’s also a special Murray’s creation, made by taking an unbelievable sheep’s milk cheese from Old Chatham (makers of Nancy’s Camembert) and rolling it in hops flowers and herbs. It’s a spin-off on a Corsican bunting called Fleur de Maquis.
Not springy enough for you?
Well, end on a sweet note then, and ask for a cake wedge of baked buffalo ricotta, doused in Earl Grey syrup, studded with berries and topped with creme fraiche.
It’s better than poundcake — dense, damp, and lemony. Yes, it really is made from the milk of water buffalo, which accounts for its fatty lushness.
If these three little sensations don’t make you contemplate flowers and fertility in surprising ways, nothing will. If you want to make yourself truly sick with pleasure, pop into the Morgan Library before you hit the cheese board and look at the Proust exhibit on display. Who really wants a madeleine, though, when you’ve got cheeses like these?