Connecticut is a tough nut to crack. Like gin, or the Beck catalogue, its complexity defies categorization. Statewide stops range from rough-and-tumble Hartford to golfing with Real Stamford Wives to the saltwater taffy-soaked charms of Mystic Seaport. While technically part of New England, Connecticut’s proximity to Manhattan and accompanying scores of Metro North commuters give it a decidedly Tri-State of Mind.
New Haven, Connecticut’s capital of higher learning, is similarly unclassifiable. Its elevated academic rankings stand in stark contrast to its reputation for crime and punishment. And despite the legacy of Frank Pepe, the citywide dining scene is often dismissed as little more than the sort of undergrad-friendly snack shops that specialize in sliders.
Enter Caseus Fromagerie Bistro, an Arts District gastropub and bold addition to New Haven’s culinary transcript. The bi-level space includes a glass-walled bar and dining room overlooking Trumball Street, as well as an artisanal cheese shop below street level. The 100 cheeses on offer are hand-cultivated and sold alongside local spices in the shop, and put to good use in the bistro above.
The bistro menu includes all manner of cheese-centric dishes, but its grilled cheese is the stuff of legends. Made with a blend of whichever cheeses are in peak condition, the sandwich might feature the likes of Comté, Gruyére, Parmesan, gouda and sharp cheddar, all perfectly melted on buttered sourdough and sprinkled with fresh sage.
For those who wish to customize their queso, the grilled cheese is served alongside a sizeable dollop of locally produced grainy mustard. The accompanying handful of house-made cornichons begs to be shared, they’re sour and spicy and worth their weight in Eli Bucks. So play your best Ray Allen and protect the ball. Well, pickle pile. Pair your grilled cheese nirvana with a well-priced glass off of the solid wine list, and enjoy a definitively civilized taste of New Haven.
Caseus Fromagerie Bistro
93 Whitney Avenue
New Haven, CT
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