It’s impossible to visit all the restaurants you want in New York, especially on a limited budget. So you know when a brand new one opens and manages to claim a top spot on your (already way too long) restaurants-to-try list, it must be pretty tempting. Enter Little Muenster, a new gourmet grilled cheese shop on the Lower East Side. I know what you’re thinking, and it was my reaction, too: Why the hell hasn’t anyone thought of this before?! An entire restaurant devoted to gourmet grilled cheese? Uh…yes, please!
Every sandwich was extraordinarily tempting, but I went with what I just couldn’t resist: gruyere, goat cheese, leek confit, and pancetta on sourdough bread.
It was, seriously, perfection. Crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside sour bread, velvety, melted goat cheese with the bite of Gruyere, oniony leek confit, and salty pancetta…except, it wasn’t pancetta in my sandwich. It was definitely bacon, but–trust me–I’m not complaining. It was my ultimate grilled cheese, and luckily, seems easy enough to replicate. Each sandwich comes with some homemade potato chips, too, which is a classic accompaniment to grilled cheese (beside tomato soup, which is also on the menu).
My friend Cayla went with the asiago, parmesan, muenster, butternut squash, and sage brown butter sammy, and it was just as good, yet totally different. The cheese wasn’t as creamy since it didn’t have the goat cheese, and the sandwich was sweet from the squash. Delicious in its own way, too, though I always opt for salty over sweet.
The place itself is adorable. It’s incredibly tiny with only room for about 12-14 people sitting down, and whimsically decorated.
There were wooden mice around the room, and this chandelier is actually a bunch of cheese graters (can you see it?) with lights in some boxes.
I wouldn’t necessarily go for dinner since it has such a casual, laid-back vibe, but it’s a fabulous lunch or late-night spot, which is dangerous since so many bars I love are also on the LES, and Little Muenster is open ’til 4 a.m. on the weekends.
Or perfect, depending how you look at it.
Little Muenster, www.littlemuenster.com, 100 Stanton St., New York, NY, 212-203-7197