The dish on Long Island's restaurant and food scene.
It’s a cheese store. It’s a coffee shop. It’s a bar. It’s a restaurant. It’s a takeout shop.
Ideal Cheese & Wine Cafe, which opened in Nov. 2013 in the former digs of Daisho, aims to do it all.
Ideal got its start in 1954 as a cheesemonger in Manhattan. In 2012 a satellite branch opened in the back of The Crushed Olive oil-and-vinegar emporium on Main Street in Huntington Village. Now Ideal has moved into its own spacious storefront nearby, and has added coffee, alcohol, table service and takeout to the mix.
The first thing you encounter at the new Ideal is coffee, and not just any coffee: Georgio’s Coffee. Georgio Testani, the passionate roaster of Farmingdale, has set up machines for espresso, drip brewing, cold brewing and individual pour-over brewing as well as a Bunn Trifecta, which makes coffee via an air-infusion process. Freshly roasted beans are also for sale.
Next, a cheese counter offers dozens of imported and domestic cheeses including fresh, house-made ricotta on weekends. There are also olives and sausages, crackers and cheese boards.
Beyond the cheese counter is a full bar, whose comfortable seats would be ideal perches for enjoying a cheese board and a few glasses of wine.
Finally, you can eat lunch or dinner in the casually elegant dining room, with blond wood tables and colorful artwork. Chef Matt Kornfeld, who cooked at the Garden City Hotel, has created a cheese-centric menu of soups, salads, melts (grilled cheese sandwiches) and burgers. Also of note: wings (which come tossed with a choice of nine sauces) and excellent hand-cut French fries, which really don’t need any of the eight dipping sauces offered.