Restaurant review: Black Radish Creamery

G.A. Benton

Here are four words that will never cease to get me excited: “The cheese is coming!”

I recently eyeballed this phrase — along with that breathless exclamation point! — on the website of Black Radish Creamery. Frankly, it was initially confusing to me, because not only does Black Radish Creamery have plenty of great cheeses, but the killer grilled cheese sandwich and fantastic fondue Black Radish offers as recurring specials are the reasons for this article. Do you know about Black Radish?

When Curds & Whey — a pioneering local cheese shop — closed because owner Mike Kast retired after providing world-class goodies to North Market patrons for nearly three decades, it was a huge loss. Not for long, though, as hand-picked Black Radish seamlessly assumed Curds & Whey's prominent North Market spot in October.

Black Radish is owned and operated by life-and-business partners Anne and John Reese. Prior to opening the shop, the couple put in productive time at the premier U.S. cooking school: The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York. John earned a prestigious degree there, and Anne, a CCAD graduate, became the facility's in-house photographer.

With Black Radish, the two have created a stylish and gleamingly clean establishment replete with esteemed and locally sourced cheeses, jams, charcuterie and more. And, for in-the-know folks who show up between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, the place also offers a small menu of dairy delights.

“Balanced” isn't a word often applied to a grilled cheese sandwich because, well, what's to balance? Black Radish shatters that assumption with its Fancy Grilled Cheese Sandwich ($8), an addictive construction of rich, earthy and silky melted Grayson cheese (similar to Taleggio) playing off local honey, skillfully sliced slivers of organic pear, thyme and wonderfully crunchy griddled toast made with bread from North Market neighbor, Omega Artisan Baking.

Nuances similarly distinguish the dreamy Fondue ($9.50 for four ounces). Hints of garlic and Bourdeaux wine add depth and structure to the tangy, faintly sweet and deeply creamy molten medley of Swiss, Emmentaler and Tarentaise cheeses.

With all this — and much more — why does this business claim the cheese is still to come? Well, Black Radish is also a Granville-based creamery where the Reeses will soon produce their own cheeses. Also planned: a raclette broiler, expanded menu and bar seating. Note: to accomplish the upgrades, Black Radish plans to temporarily close in April.

Black Radish Creamery

North Market

59 Spruce St., Arena District