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Meat the Vegetarian

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Trio of Tomato

 Cheese is my favorite food group.  I can eat any type of cheese with the exception of petting zoo cheese; it reminds me WAY TOO MUCH of summer vacations with Nan and Jen, when the goats would run you down for your handful of pellets.  Besides cheese that tastes like sheep’s wool, I will even eat cheese plain.  Max always has to comment when I have mozzarella sans tomato and basil.  So, I was in Cheese Heaven when we tried Artisanal, an NYC French restaurant specializing in Cheese. 

Gnocchi with Butter

Location: Artisanal, 32nd and Park Ave, NYC
Price: It was a little touristy, so it was a little pricey.  App’s were between $10-$15 and Ent’s were between $20-$30.  But they really got you on the extras.  Cheese plates started at $15, and cocktails were expensive.  Max said they had a reasonable wine list; that’s his job, so I really have no clue. 

Difficulty:  Surprisingly difficult for a restaurant specializing in Cheese.  They had a lot of appetizers for me, but not one entre…. which really is frustrating. 

Meat-Eater:  Max went straight up french.  We each had a cheese plate to start, but since I tasted all of Max’s Cheese, I’ll report on that in the “veggie” section.  For Max’s main dish, he ordered steak au poivre, which I understand to be, very basically, steak cooked in butter.  It looked really yummy, but Max replied “Meh, I’ve had better.”  The steak was below the expectation level… 

Steak and frites

Cheese Graveyard....

Veggie:  Although I couldn’t order a main course, I certainly didn’t go hungry.  The cheese plates were pretty de-lish.  I had the “Sparkling Beauties” (Humboldt Fog (Goat, California), Manchego (Sheep, Spain), Comté (Cow, France) ) and Max had the “Blondes Have More Fun” (Valençay (Goat, France), Camembert (Cow, France), Livarot (Cow, France)).  We each tried each other’s and decided we liked our own better.  Mild criticism of the waiter/restaurant:  he tried to explain to us what Manchego and Camembert were… ummm, we chose this place for the cheese– we know SOMETHING about it!  

I had two appetizers for my dinner, and they had some high notes.  The Tomato Variation special presented me with flavors I have never tried before, ie the shot glass of clear liquid that they said was tomato, but I am still not sure I believe them.  The crostini was classic and delicious, and the last component of the dish was guac stuffed in a tomato… meh.  The mexican flavor profile at a french place weirded me out, and missed the mark.  I also had the gnocchi (french-style), which was 90% perfect.  I am a really tough judge of gnocchi, because it is my favorite.  The gnocchi tended to be salty and the butter sauce was a little labored and felt heavier than it should have been.  I mean, it is butter and cream so it is heavy, but it over powered everything that it was supposed to be complimenting…. 

The Best Part of the meal BY FAR was the chocolate fondue for dessert!  That was just perfect.  Chocolate vessels were just as good as the chocolate.  I never had ginger snaps with chocolate fondue, but now it’s all I want. 

Chocolate Fondue... YUM

I recommend Artisanal for the Cheese and Chocolate fondue.  I would save some calories and skip the main course.  But, seriously, chocolate fondue… any girl would melt like the chocolately goodness over the homemade marshmallow. 



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