Diners seeking sophisticated, nonsweet dessert options are happy to find artisanal cheese courses on more restaurant menus.
This article first appeared in the 1 October 2005 issue of Restaurants & Institutions (R&I).
R&I is the USA's leading source of food and business-trend information and exclusive research on operators and restaurant patrons. Editorial coverage spans the entire foodservice industry, including chains, independent restaurants, hotels and institutions. To find out more about R&I, visit its website www.foodservice411.com.
By Margaret Casey, Special to R&I
BIN 36, Chicago. BIN 36 is a wine-centric restaurant, an approach that nearly every facet of the business supports, especially the menu. With fare designed to enhance the wine experience, it's no surprise that artisanal cheeses play front and center. The task simplified by friendly descriptions, guests select kinds they wish to sample, by origin, strength and type of milk.
Solera Restaurant & Bar, Denver. Solera plays to Mediterranean influences, with Chef Christian "Goose" Sorensen devoted to authentic foods. For his cheese plate, offered as a dessert option, he pairs four mild to sharp cheeses with nuts, olives, fresh and dried fruits, relishes and syrups. As does the menu, presentations change to reflect availability and the seasons.
Wisconsin Cheese Course
Cru Cafe & Wine Bar, Chicago. In recent years, Wisconsin's cheese producers have rediscovered the Old World ways of small-batch production, something that captured the interest of Mindy Trafman, chef at Cru. She favors varieties that incorporate local ingredients such as morels, leeks, garlic and parsley for an approachable and wine-friendly cheese plate.
Artisanal American Cheese Tray
Madison's Restaurant & Wine Garden, Highlands, N.C. Executive Sous-Chef Nate Waugaman knows how important cheese selections are on his contemporary American menu. All are organic and come from American producers. Guests select one or three varieties, which arrive with seasonal enhancements such as fennel pollen, fresh berries and quince paste.