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[Photographs: Nancy Huang]

Daniel Angerer, chef behind Klee Brasserie, has opened up a new spot in Chelsea called the Little Cheese Pub. Forgoing the traditional wine-and-cheese route, Little Cheese Pub highlights cheese and beer, a choice that well suits the rustic menu that Angerer has devised.

It all starts with the Cheese Monger Grilled Cheese ($7), a thinly pressed sandwich oozing sunshine-yellow Vermont cheddar. For a moment, life flashes back to your happy place, to those childhood meals of Kraft grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup.

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Except this is no Kraft cheese—this is sharp, flavorful cheddar, melted to a perfect viscosity that you could lick right off the bread. Consider it your adult happy place.

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Angerer also offers six versions of Mac & Cheese on the menu, highlighting distinct European and American flavors. We settle on the classic flavors of the Gr├╝tzie Swiss Mac ($11), made with three Alpine cheeses and topped with crispy onions. The homemade pasta holds up well to the creaminess of the cheese, and the onions provide much-needed texture and sweetness to help balance out the dish. Though the menu offers different sizes depending on your group, one piping hot plate is more than enough for two.

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Cheese purists can mix and match their own cheese plates from the menu, which offers more than a dozen picks at three for $13 and five for $20. The menu includes themed cheese plates, such as the "Proud to be American" ($13), which includes three distinct cheeses from American creameries, including my favorite of the night, a tangy goat cheese called Hoya Santa from Texas. The hearty portions are accompanied by apple and mustard seed chutney and ample toast. If the place fell short in one respect, it was with the toast, a plain wheat bread that could not hold its own against the cheese. A thick-crusted baguette or country bread would be preferred.

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If you've been cheesed out, skip the cheesecake for dessert and try the Milk Cake ($7), an angel sponge cake soaked in sweet milk and topped with whipped cream and pear cider compote. It might not be guilt-free, but the lightness of the cake is much appreciated.

Though beer and wine are a big part of the menu, the liquor license was not yet in place when I visited. I'm told it should be here this week, but if not it's still BYOB, and they've got all the proper glassware in place. And don't be fooled by the "Pub" part of Little Cheese Pub—this place is completely kid-friendly.

Little Cheese Pub

362 1/2 West 23rd Street, New York NY 10011 (map)
646-863-7291
littlecheesepub.com

About the author: Nancy Huang, who comes to New York by way of Los Angeles, writes The Wanderkind, a food and travel blog of adventures here and abroad. She loves noodles, subway maps, and word games.

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