When Slow Food practitioner Colin Alevras, the chef-owner of the Tasting Room and as familiar a Greenmarket presence as corn in August, sets out to make a cheese sandwich for his new Tasting Room Wine Bar & Café, you don’t expect him to slap together some Kraft singles between two slices of Pepperidge Farm whole wheat and call it a day. No, what you expect is great, local ingredients, cleverly combined. What you expect is what our colleague, Adam Platt, would undoubtedly call a sandwich conceived and crafted in the Haute Barnyard style.
And that is what you get: The semi-firm Tilset-style cheese comes from the Brovetto Dairy Farm, a small, family-run operation in Harpersfield, New York. The Brovetto clan lovingly wash the cheese’s rind in the local Belgian-style ale made by Brewery Ommegang in Cooperstown. The lacto-fermented (or naturally preserved and better for you) raw kimchee is from Hawthorne Valley Farm and available at the Union Square Greenmarket Wednesdays and Saturdays. And the toasted English muffins are not Thomas’, but made in house and “take fucking forever to cook,” says Alevras. The combination is unexpectedly delicious — the barnyardy cheese and the malty sweetness of the toasted English muffin offset by the spritzy, effervescent kimchee. “What I like about the sandwich,” says Alevras, “is all the fermentation going on: You have the lacto-fermented kimchee, you have the cheese that’s washed in beer, and sort of a sourdough English muffin that’s been fermented overnight.” In short, this isn’t just sandwich, but a living, breathing organism. — Rob Patronite and Robin Raisfeld
72 E. 1st St., nr. First Ave.; 212-358-7831; dinner only.