If you’ve been following Bitches Who Brunch for awhile, you may have caught on that my roommate and frequent brunch cohort Sondra is a major cheese lover. The kind of person who will put cheese on top of cheese. So much so that in past birthdays we’ve put candles in a fancy Murray’s Cheese platter in lieu of a cake.
It’s unsurprising that my crew celebrates birthdays with brunch over dinner (see Il Bastardo, Yerba Buena and Paradou brunch reviews for example) and we were on a quest to find the perfect spot to celebrate Sondra’s 29th year around the sun. With Sondra’s lust for lactose, Raclette in the East Village was a no brainer, and we were delighted that this small East Village cafe took reservations for our party of five.
In case you’ve been living under a rock or have embarked on a digital detox, the raclette style of fondue-esque, melted cheese lathered over entrees has taken over Instagram feeds for the past year or so. A few restaurants feature this decadent presentation, but Raclette has really owned the trend—it is its namesake after all.
Raclette is a cozy restaurant nestled in the heart of the East Village. Upon entrance, we were all immediately blown away by the overpowering smell of cheese. Our mouths started to water, but we were admittedly quite self conscious of a lingering scent for the rest of our afternoon.
But first, champagne. We split a bottle of Prosecco (okay, a few bottles) over the course of our meal, which paired nicely with our cheese and veggies.
You can’t go to Raclette and not order a raclette. We ended up with two to share between the five of us, the perfect starter and a great way to get our taste of the gooey cheese without too much of a stomachache. There are five versions of raclettes to choose between; the basic variance is between what mix of veggies and proteins are covered in dairy.
Regardless of your raclette selection, rack melted Alpine cheeses are scraped tableside in a dramatic, and Instagram-worthy, presentation. We split the basic Savoyarde, which featured potatoes, cornichons, and pickled white pearl onions, and the Suisse, pretty much the same thing but with your choice of prosciutto or ham.
The raclettes were refreshingly simple and let the high quality cheese speak for itself. The warm cheese was comforting and sinfully delicious, particularly when drizzled over the potato wedges. This was probably some of the best and most memorable cheese I’ve had in a long time.
We also selected a few tartines and croques to round out our meal. The tomato and mozzarella tartine had a stunning presentation between the bright colors and symmetrical spheres. Unfortunately, we were a bit underwhelmed by the taste. It was a standard Caprese sandwich on thin crispy bread.
Fig and prosciutto is a classic combination so we were all excited to try this sammy. This tartine was elevated with the inclusion of Brillat Savarin, toasted hazelnuts, mache, and a balsamic reduction. The flavors didn’t disappoint, but we felt like they skimped on the star ingredient of the restaurant, the cheese.
The croque side of the menu was more on par with the decadent raclettes. Thick, fluffy bread was smothered in melted cheese with rich ingredients like high quality ham and fancy French sauces. We sampled the iconic Croque Monsieur and were left satisfied.
All in all, Raclette was a fun experience and a memorable birthday celebration. The space was adorable and intimate, perfect for brunching with your best Bitches. We unanimously agreed that it was worth the lingering smell of cheese for the next 24 hours.
The Bitches say: B. Come to try the raclette trend for yourself with some of the best melted cheese in the city.
511 E 12th St
New York, NY 10009
Raclette serves brunch on Saturdays and Sundays beginning at 11 a.m.