Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Brooklyn: Bedford Cheese Shop, Fabiane’s, Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream

Bedford Cheese Shop: $$, ***
Fabiane’s: $, **
Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream: $, **
(website links provided where possible)

This post was originally supposed to be about barbecue. As I mentioned in my last post, my friends and I can’t seem to get enough, so we ventured into Brooklyn last weekend to visit Fette Sau for lunch. Scott didn’t check the hours, though, and they don’t open until 5 pm, so this is now a post about “food in Brooklyn”.

After being denied barbecue, we wandered down Williamsburg’s Bedford Ave looking for other options. Bedford Cheese Shop seemed like a good place to get a snack while thinking of our next move, so we popped in. What a great idea! Bedford Cheese Shop is worth going to for the cheese descriptions alone:

“It will cause a sensation in your mouth similar to that of licking the bottom of a freshly emptied butter churn (which, we’re sure, many of you out there are familiar with).”
Witty writing aside, the cheese here is flat-out amazing. We sampled slivers of different washed-rind cheeses before finally settling on one called “Reblochon Kuntener”. It’s a cow’s milk cheese from Switzerland, and is incredibly pungent - and just as delicious. It demands to be slathered on top of a thick piece of bread, so that’s exactly what we did.

Happily enjoying our purchase, we saw a café called Fabiane’s. Well-populated but not too crowded, we ordered our food at the counter and took a seat at one of its sidewalk tables. Fabiane’s serves breakfast and beautiful-looking desserts, but we wanted more substance and ordered sandwiches (roast duck with fig, and warm roast beef with blue cheese) and a terrific chicken pot pie. The crust on the chicken pot pie is delicious - it’s flaky and buttery, but is sadly absent from the pie’s bottom, appearing only as a top layer. Large pieces of roast chicken and a generous amount (and variety!) of vegetables more than make up for it, though.

We decided to walk around Williamsburg for a while before heading back to Manhattan. Maneuvering past the used book sales, thrift stores, hipsters, and taco carts, I spotted one of Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream’s trucks! I’d heard nothing but good things, so I insisted we stop and have some. They were out of the red currant flavor, but were still serving their other nine, which include the standard vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry, as well as newly popular staples like ginger and Early Grey. We sampled coffee, ginger, and pistachio - all good flavors, but they just don’t compare to the way my favorite ice cream place, The Bent Spoon, makes them. I was feeling slightly disheartened until I tried the hazelnut - jackpot! Creamy and tasting almost of coffee, it was studded with hundreds of small hazelnut bits and served in a sugar cone - a great finishing note to a sunny day walking around Brooklyn.

In a way, I’m almost glad Fette Sau was closed. I love barbecue, but I also love exploring new places, and Brooklyn has a lot to offer - I’m excited for my next visit.


  1. Love this...we have never been to Brooklyn? fun to visit with you and the cheese shop would be a favorite for us. best, s