By SUSAN ERICSON
Four and a half years after opening on Monmouth Street in Red Bank, the Cheese Cave, a boutique cheese shop, is often swamped for takeout at lunch time. Whether you call ahead or order when you get there, you may have to wait in line.
If you have the time though, you should consider eating inside. The atmosphere is woodsy and calm. Sandwiches are served on bread boards instead of plates, adding an old-world rustic touch.
But it’s the sandwich combinations — or “sanwicheeses,” as they say here — that pack ’em in.
An unusual sandwich to this area, the classic Muffulatta requires two hands to eat. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)
As usual, PieHole was having trouble choosing a sandwich, our curiosity piqued by offerings with names like Pig and Fig, Goat Goddess and Brie Mine.
Settling on the Pig and Fig ($9.95), we were surprised by its size. We expected something dainty; we were wrong. This is a big sandwich. A large, crusty baguette arrived filled with rosemary ham and Fromage de Meaux brie, and slathered with sticky fig jam. It made for a salty, sweet, and creamy mouthful.
Fortunately, the guy next to us ordered the Muffalatta ($9.95), a classic New Orleans sandwich. He was more than happy to have his lunch photographed while opining that everything tastes better with olives on it. An enormous two-hands-required-to-pick-it-up sandwich on semolina bread, it’s filled with capicola, salame rosa, mozzarella, provolone, and a tangy olive salad.
Cheese Cave owner Steve Catania is a wealth of information involving all things cheese, including accompaniments to enhance the taste of each.
The store sells everything from cutting boards to cheese slicers, so you can pick up a nice gift while you’re waiting in line for your sandwich.
The Cheese Cave is open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday; until 9 p.m. on Fridays, and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sundays.