The Cheese Shop opened in the Shops at Roosevelt nearly five months ago, and serves as a spot for customers to enjoy cheese plates, as well as shop for artisan cheeses. A couple weeks ago, the hot spot installed a kitchen in its lower level, and now serves a small menu of lunch and snack items.
We stopped in on a Wednesday just before the lunch hour, and snagged the last table available (a new, large table made from salvaged wood). Water was brought to us immediately in a recycled glass milk jar, with two small mason jars.
The menu is small, but offers a few lunch options that are as filling as they are delicious. The Cheese Shop offers a grilled cheese (of course) sandwich, called a “toastie,” which is made with Milton Creamery Quark, Prairie Breeze and Frisian Farms gouda. Guests can add various toppings to the sandwich, including La Quercia prosciutto, salami, pepper jam and arugula pesto. At the recommendation of Kari Bienert, who co-owns The Cheese show with her husband C.J., we tried ours with the prosciutto and homemade pepper jam.
The sandwich was perfectly grilled on a sturdy, buttery bread. Inside, the cheese was fully melted but not stringy and perfectly proportioned to the meat and jam. The saltiness of the thinly-sliced prosciutto with the sweetness of the homemade jam created a wave of unexpected flavors, surrounded by the soft but distinct taste of the melted cheese. We also ordered a side of tomato dip to dunk our sandwich in, which took the sandwich to a new level. The homemade dip - about the consistency of a chunky bisque - was thick and flavorful. We ate the leftover dip with a spoon.
We also tried the mac & cheese, baked in a 500-degree oven in an individually-sized cast iron skillet. The elbow noodles were thick and cooked al dente, with a blend of Frisian Farms gouda and all the “lucky cheese bits” the staff collects from packaging cheeses during the day. The result of the blend of cheeses is a complex array of flavors, from mild to smokey to very slightly spicy. The baking process creates a crispy crust on the bottom, and a dusting of bread crumbs creates a crunchy topping. The result is a decadently dense mac & cheese with unique textures from the crunchy and crispy crusts.
The Cheese Shop also offers a side salad with lemon vinaigrette, jack cheese, Spanish almonds and nicoise olives for $2, as well as its usually array of cheese plates and daily specials.
If you’re in the mood for a dressed up, cheesy lunch, stop by The Cheese Shop.
The Cheese Shop
Find it: 833 42nd St., Suite B
Hours: 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday; 10 a.m.-close Friday and Saturday.
Info: 582-8181; thecheeseshopdsm.com
Mac & cheese... $8
Pepper jam... $.50