Magazine article The New Yorker

CASELLULA; Tables for Two

Magazine article The New Yorker

CASELLULA; Tables for Two

Article excerpt

On a recent evening, a waiter took it upon himself to explain the restaurant's name: "It comes from the Latin diminutive for house, and it kind of sounds like the word for cheese, so we like to think of it as 'the little house of cheese.' " (Language mavens: that's casula, -ae in the first instance, caseus, -i in the second.) There's an obvious infatuation with whimsy. Dishes are given irreverent names, from the succulent pork sandwich (giving a server opportunity to announce, with relish, "Here's your Pig's Ass!") to flights of cheese ("Lady Sings the Blues," "Those Crazy Kids!"). It's a lighthearted approach backed by some serious credentials: Brian Keyser, a co-owner with Joe Farrell, has worked at the Union Square Cafe and Blue Hill at Stone Barns, and the fromager, Tia Keenan, comes from the Modern.

Casellula is not a place for the calorie- or fat-averse (though a waitress said, wonderingly, "We do get people who don't want any cheese at all"). Ordering your greens in the form of the endive salad? You'll get huge hunks of blue cheese, generously strewn macadamia nuts, a swathing of dressing--oh, and some crunchy leaves to scoop it all up. Many things are perfect in their excess; the macaroni and cheese, for instance, was a deliciously gooey combination of Fol Epi, Comte, and chevre, chewy lardons, and sweet carmellized onions. …

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