BEST CHEESE SELECTION - 2003
At first blush it doesn't look like much happened during Surdyk's recent renovation. The walls are still bright white, and there are no plastic salamis dangling from the ceiling. But after a moment, you can appreciate the new layout's subtle efficiency. No more stumbling into a rack of fancy pickles (or another patron) while you peruse the gourmet groceries. No more wrangling with cheese-crazed mobs while you try to pick up pâté, now that the store has cleverly grouped the display cases by category. Best of all, there's just more cheese. Every handcrafted tribute to microbial magic seems to be sitting out for sale: soft, creamy Bries; seven-year-old cheddars; and oddities like the Gouda laced with stinging nettles (we still aren't brave enough to try that). The space might be arranged differently, but one thing that hasn't changed a bit is the staff's expertise and friendliness. They still have an almost occult ability to pair cheeses with beverages and other fine foods. Even the labels are helpful. On a chunk of truffled Sottocenere from Italy, there's the most useful suggestion to pair it with a "big Italian red." Which is located next door, incidentally. Hmmmm. You'd think they planned it that way.