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Great Cheese Courses


jm chen
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I'm in a cheese plate mood and of course this happens on a Tuesday, the Dino day off. Any suggestions? Palena? Anywhere in Dupont? Somewhere I'll feel fine alone at the bar with a book.

I had a great cheese course at Palena a couple weeks ago. Also, don't forget Sonoma and Bistro Bis on the Hill, Equinox near Farragut West (where the great Tony Allen works the bar on Monday and Wednesday evenings), Restaurant Eve in Old Town (featuring Cheesetique cheeses), and of course Komi which, criminally, has no bar.

And I still miss Nectar. :P

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I had a great cheese course at Palena a couple weeks ago.  Also, don't forget Sonoma and Bistro Bis on the Hill, Equinox near Farragut West (where the great Tony Allen works the bar on Monday and Wednesday evenings), Restaurant Eve in Old Town (featuring Cheesetique cheeses), and of course Komi which, criminally, has no bar.

Sonoma has good cheese (the product itself) but poor cheese service/servers. At least, to date, no one has said they've turned around their servers' lack of cheese knowledge.

BTW, you are so right about Komi.

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Hmmm, Firefly. That could work. I've been wanting to try the place...

I don't think I've ever had a bad cheese course, technically, given my affection for cheese. But there's definitely a difference between merely satisfying and truly great.

Excellent suggestions so far, everyone. Thanks!

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Best cheese plate and service I've had was at Komi. Sebastian must have piled every cheese they had on the plate and spent a long time on a busy Friday night describing them and all their nuances - from the sharp to the runny to the downright "barnyard-smelling" varieties.

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I agree with Bill that right now Sebastian at Komi is doing the best cheese service in town. I will put in another plug for Firefly which recenlty upgraded its cheese service to a new level. Since FF has a bar and Komi does not, it is much easier to sample the cheeses at FF. The cheese menu at Eve allows a 3, 5 or 7 cheese selection, and they might have a desert wine open in the back if you ask nicely.

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All worthy examples. But I am really not into cheese 'plates' where the cheese is pre-selected with a little salad, jam, etc. I much prefer a real cheese cart, similar to what you get in Europe with choices. Is that available in DC?

Like this:

cheese.jpg

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Galileo.

Cityzen uses the cart and lets you choose what you'd like (within reason, I'm sure), as does the Inn at Little Washington, where the cart is actually a rolling cow with the cheese set on her back.

Last time I was there I had had enough wine that I got a big kick out of jingling the cow's bell. :wub: I'm not sure the waiter was as amused as I was. :P

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Cityzen uses the cart and lets you choose what you'd like (within reason, I'm sure), as does the Inn at Little Washington, where the cart is actually a rolling cow with the cheese set on her back. 

Last time I was there I had had enough wine that I got a big kick out of jingling the cow's bell.  :wub:   I'm not sure the waiter was as amused as I was.  :P

More cow bell!!!

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while they do not use a cart, i recall that ardeo/bardeo has a cheese board that enables you to choose from 20 or so selections. i can't comment on the cheese service as the gm, whose name i never can remember, has always choosen a selection for my party and paired wines as well.

i prefer bardeo to ardeo for it's more cozy ambience.

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i know this is slightly off-topic, but for a great cheese shop, i would highly recommend cheesetigue, in the Del Ray part of Alexandria...

the owner, Jill, is one of the most knowledgeable people i have ever met when it comes to cheese. She also offers cheese tastings on a regular basis...the main one this month is a "stinky cheese" tasting. She also runs the shop as it should be run, almost insisting on giving samples before you purchase a cheese.

Just thought it would be interesting to those of you as in love with good cheeses as i am!

http://www.cheesetique.com/

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Jay,

Welcome to DR.

Jill occasionally pokes her head in here.

Check out these cheese tastings at Cheesetique.

We may even talk her into holding a DR only one.  :P

AWESOME! thanks! i once told her i had a huge crush on her because of her love for cheeses. Every time i walk in and she is there, she smiles and says hey and makes me feel at home. I love cheesetique so much that i would rather go there then sutton place or whole foods.

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Sonoma has good cheese (the product itself) but poor cheese service/servers.  At least, to date, no one has said they've turned around their servers' lack of cheese knowledge. 

BTW, you are so right about Komi.

On a weekly basis we have been doing cheese tastings and wine pairings with the staff, and rececently we purchased a copy of Max Mcalman's excellent book The Cheese Plate to use as a staff reference. In addition we had a staff orientation with our representative from Artisanal. If there are any other tough cheese questions that our staff is too busy to answer or unsure of I'm always glad to come out and field questions, when I can peel myself away from the line. We are trying hard to present several constantly changing cheeses at their peak and I think we have recently been making some good progress.

Thanks,

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On a weekly basis we have been doing cheese tastings and wine pairings with the staff, and rececently we purchased a copy of Max Mcalman's excellent book The Cheese Plate to use as a staff reference. In addition we had a staff orientation with our representative from Artisanal. If there are any other tough cheese questions that our staff is too busy to answer or unsure of I'm always glad to come out and field questions, when I can peel myself away from the line. We are trying hard to present several constantly changing cheeses at their peak and I think we have recently been making some good progress.

Thanks,

Drew, I am thrilled to hear about the staff training on cheese. My initial comment reflects my only experience with the cheese at Sonoma which was shortly after opening day. At that time, we had a server who listed the cheeses and she was clearly wrong, telling me a cheese was taleggio that wasn't. She went to the kitchen and the kitchen staffer confirmed that it was taleggio. Well, it wasn't. I think it was finally admitted by a third employee that it was something different.

I hadn't tried the cheese there since, although I have consistently asked others here for their opinion about whether the cheese knowledge has turned around. Until your comment this evening, no one had confirmed anything different than my experience.

Max McCalman's book is superb. And it's probably safe to say that your rep from Artisanal was trained by Max and that's a great sign. If I may suggest, another book to have on hand is Steven Jenkins's "Cheese Primer." It's pushing ten years old, and there's clearly much more availability of imported cheese and production of domestic cheese since he wrote the book. But for basic understanding of tasting and descriptions of major cheeses, his book is unparalleled.

Thanks again for stepping in with the info. I look forward to trying the cheese again at Sonoma!

Edited by CrescentFresh
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Tonight we are offering the following at Dino:

Vento d'Estate- aged in summer grasses, herbs and hay

Bitto- Raw milk cow's milk cheese from the Alpine Valtellina, aged 2-3 years

Brunet- Soft ripened goat's milk cheese from Piemonte

4 year old Reggiano

180 day old gorgonzola piccante

5 more!

Coming up soon are:

Erborinata

Cave Aged Asiago Vecchio

Keen's CHeddar from Neal's Yard

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Honestly, the best cheese course i have ever had (except for over in france or england) has been at the Inn at Little Washington. as previously mentioned, the little cow tray rocked. and the waiter knew about every single cheese on the tray, and put together for me a wonderful combination of various textures and tastes.

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Cityzen uses the cart and lets you choose what you'd like (within reason, I'm sure), as does the Inn at Little Washington, where the cart is actually a rolling cow with the cheese set on her back. 

Last time I was there I had had enough wine that I got a big kick out of jingling the cow's bell.  :P   I'm not sure the waiter was as amused as I was.  :P

:wub: Le Bec Fin in Philly has an excellent cheese cart too and when my wife & I went there in April, the waiter said that we could select what we wanted... So, we shamelessly chose seven of them! We laughed about it all night. If there was a cow bell on the cart, we probably would have rung it.

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If you have not been to Bis for cheese, you are missing out. The guy who runs it is Mark Sutherland, an alum of both Picholine and Artisnal in NYC. If you look at the acknowledgements of the aforementioned book "The Cheese Plate" you'll see Mark's name.

There's usually 16-20 cheeses to choose from a night from a cheese table....space doesn't allow for a moveable cart. It's a real treat.

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If you have not been to Bis for cheese, you are missing out.  The guy who runs it is Mark Sutherland, an alum of both Picholine and Artisnal in NYC.  If you look at the acknowledgements of the aforementioned book "The Cheese Plate" you'll see Mark's name.

There's usually 16-20 cheeses to choose from a night from a cheese table....space doesn't allow for a moveable cart.  It's a real treat.

I second this recommendation...amazing cheese course and presented with knowledge and structure as well instead of ploping a bunch of cheese in front of you and have at it...

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Not necessarily sure if these are great cheese courses but they will be interesting. For a friend's recent birthday present we visitied Cheesetique and purchased the end of their Yak cheese supply.

The friend was suitably surprised given his taste in unusual cooking ingredients.

His current plans include the obvious, fondue and the disturbing, Yakaroni.

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