Monday, January 24, 2011

Klee saves the day

Last week, the lovely DA and I made plans to convene at the Little Cheese Pub in Chelsea. I was really excited-- it was a new place, and the menu looked delicious. I got there first and took a seat at one of their ingenious swing-out seats at a communal table. I procured a menu and began to peruse... when I was unpleasantly accosted by a notice screaming "We do not currently serve alcohol." Ummm... really? According to the website, there was an extensive beer and wine list, and perhaps not surprisingly, that's why I'd chosen the LCP for our drinks date. Apparently, they'd gotten their liquor license but didn't have the necessary piece of paper yet-- so BYOB it was. Now, this is all perfectly fine, but don't you think they should have posted that fact... somewhere? Anywhere aside from buried in the middle of the menu? Like, maybe, online? Or at the door? Anyway, when DA arrived, I informed him of the sad situation, and we headed back out into the frigid night in search of, well, booze.

Given the ~20-degree temperature, we needed someplace nearby. Quickly. So on a gametime decision, we decided to check out Klee, which is located around the corner from the LCP and is owned by the same chef, Daniel Angerer. We burst into the quiet, serene dining room and gratefully took seats at the small but entirely adequate bar.

A good 15 minutes of wrangling with the menu for the purposes of the Wine Century Club later, we had a couple drinks and had placed a food order. I had ordered a glass of "Rosso, Gerbino, Di Giovanno" (check Nero D'Avola off my WCC list, thank you very much), which I'd say was just ah-kay. The alcohol burn in this wine was hot and almost overwhelming, although after a bit of time in the glass it opened up and mellowed a bit. DA noted that his glass of Primitivo, the special red of the night, was also decent but not memorable.

My wine (check out the cool coaster!)

DA's wine. Looks eerily similar.

But the food! We had ordered a cheese plate, and after once again struggling to decide among the five cheese options, we went with a Pecorino Tartufo, a Green Hill, and a classic Appenzeller. And while it was a bit pricey at $13, this was a damn good cheese plate. First of all, Klee gives you a truly generous portion of each cheese, particularly the Pecorino and Appenzelelr. There was enough cheese that both of us (or maybe just me?) were reaching cheese overload by the end of the plate. And the cheeses themselves were top quality-- we both loved the Pecorino for its soft texture and assertive truffley bite. The Green Hill was super creamy and mild, and the Appenzeller tasted just like diving into a fondue pot. The dark honey accompaniment was interesting, but the stewed figs were pretty average-- in fact, our only gripe was that the accompaniments could have been a bit better or more creative (and there could have been more-- I mean, three half-figs for two people?).

Left to right, Appenzeller, Pecorino, Green Hill

Raisin bread and toasted rye for the smearin'

We spent almost two hours sipping wine, eating cheese, and just talking. It was, in a word, delightful. And Klee was so peaceful and warm, with laid-back but welcoming service-- I'd definitely come back to try a "real" meal down the line.

Klee Brasserie
200 Ninth Avenue, between 22nd and 23rd Streets

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