I've mentioned before that brunch is a big affair for me. Welp, now that baby has her first real job,
plus school and various assorted debauchery, anytime is brunch time,
provided I've ten minutes, a handful of dry cereal, and a hardboiled
egg. But you know that doesn't really cut it. I need real brunch,
with real forks, real hipsters, and real food, damn it, and as luck
would have it, Murray's Cheese, a New York epicurean staple, introduced
their weekend brunch and invited me over for a taste. Finally, brunch I could schedule in and prepare for! Over a springy Sunday morning, I sampled cheese-filled treats aplenty.
It doesn't get much better than starting with bellinis...unless said bellinis are lychee and black cherry-flavored. Lychee
fared better, the yeastiness of the Processo mingled nicely with the
floral notes. Black cherry was delicious, but the fruity flavor was
omnipresent and pushed out the more delicate flavors of the wine.
As we were guests of Murray's, I shot them a quick email before I came over- simple in premise, but direct: "What should we get?" Their response met mine with a succinct, "As much as you can."
And holy cheese, were they right. We got a phenomenal spread of food,
its versatility proving Murray's deft hands with delicious cheese. We started with a cheese plate, arguably the best of the selection, though I'm biased just coming from a life of cheese plates in Paris.
order of the cheesemonger's selection comes with the cheesemonger,
carefully pointing out and describing her selections and pairings with
both housemade and artisanally produced condiments. We asked for the
strangest and funkiest, and we definitely got it, starting with the
Hudson Flower, cave-aged at Murray's courtesy of the Old Chatham
Sheepherding Co. with a blend of lemongrass, juniper berry, cracked
black pepper, and paprika. This was paired with a housemade rose tea
petal jam, and was my personal favorite of the bunch. Floral, spicy, and, as the cheesemonger said, "I feel so girly whenever I eat it!" Me too. Kinda.
next was a Beaufort d'Ete, transporting me straight back to France with
its creamy, eggy, pungent flavors and a crumbly, honeyed sweet edge.
Man, was this nostalgic. They paired it with pickled spicy carrots
whose lingering spice deftly cut the richness of the cheese. It was
better with the wild boar soprasetta than the delicate shavings of
proscuitto as the former helped coax out those spicy notes even more. We
finished with a perfect Fourme d'Ambert, yet another tug at the old
heartstrings for me. This had a funky, pervasive sea salt and musk to
the core, with an aggressively stingy bite, just pure chalk, salt, and
cream. Paired with the delicate, although strangely solid white sea
salt honey and prosciutto, it was something I could have eaten by the
the cheese plate, we started in on the brunch menu. We wanted an even
divide of sweet and savory, so we decided to start with the Illegal Doughnut, two thick slices of Pullman's bread stuffed with cream cheese, bacon, and fried with a creme brulee crunch. Delicious, and certainly rich, as it was over three inches of fried, creamy goodness on a plate, but I wished the cream cheese filling had been seasoned or spiced in some way,
or at least whipped to cut the sheer density of the plate. In this
case, it seemed as though a block of cream cheese had been placed in
between the bread, which is all well and good, but at a place that specializes in cheese, cream cheese should not go ignored.
other large plate was the Alpine Eggs, described as the "fondue of
eggs" by both our server and the PR team. These were monstrous in size
and flavor- two pillowy English muffin halves with ham, grilled
mushrooms (B generously ate the 'shrooms off mine) and a perfectly
poached egg on top to be drizzled with what seemed like an endless pot
of tangy, smooth cheese sauce. Everything worked well in this dish,
and I happily scraped the plate and dipped anything I could in the
sauce- a fork, crackers, my pinky finger, though I did find myself craving a little spice to counter some of those creamy flavors.
Surprisingly, the two sides we ordered made more than a complete meal themselves, and actually ended up being our favorites. Murray's,
please know that I could eat those grits ad nauseum. I would cook them
and never, ever leave the house, so creamy and infused with cheese they
were. The Tickler cheddar was sharp and savory, and melted so well that
long after the dish had cooled down, the cheese was still gooey and
yielding with each bite. I prolonged our brunch by at least an extra
fifteen minutes just so I could nibble on this. With the scrapple, it
was likely one of the best brunch meals I've had in the last year.
Ohhh, the scrapple. My
discreet notes to myself, scribbled on both my phone, and, after its
untimely battery death, my hand, best sum up my feelings toward it:
"Holy damn, scrapple, you crazy." Crazy indeed- tender, with every last edge crispy and crunchy.
Murray's is off to a great beginning. Their individual items need
tweaking, but it's a solid start to what I imagine will be a stunning
final menu. We left stuffed with leftovers in hand and decided it
wouldn't have been so awful to fall onto the subway tracks and die
afterward. There's no shame in being star-crossed brunch lovers.
Disclosure: Murray's generously comped our cheese plate and invited us
in to what was likely the very last two-top in a ten-mile radius on such a beautiful spring day. Seriously, everyone in the tri-state area was brunching that day, so muchos gracias.)
Labels: 8, breakfast, lunch, restaurant