Lunch of the Month: Cheese Bar

— By Design presents dsmDining —

Above: The prosciutto smörg is a delight to order: You get a great sandwich and you get to say a silly word.

By Wini Moranville

Just about anyone can put prosciutto on a buttered slice of bread and top it with greens, but only about .01 percent of the world’s population could make this combination taste as wonderful as it does at The Cheese Bar.

Of course, it’s all about the best ingredients—and exactitude of execution. You take a great prosciutto (in this case, La Quercia from Norwalk), and slice it into glossy, delicate ribbons that are so paper-thin you can see through them. And I mean that literally—I actually placed a piece of the prosciutto on a printed page and could read the letters through the meat. Then, you slather a crusty, tuggy piece of sourdough bread with a cultured butter (cultured = elevated flavor) and a judicious drizzle of herb oil. Place the prosciutto on the bread, then top it with bright, fresh greens that are perfectly dressed—enticingly slick, but magically wilt-proof.

This Scandinavian-style open-face sandwich, referred to on the menu as a “smörg,” was, quite simply, sublime. Interestingly, while built with the same precision, the burrata smörg was less thrilling. While burrata—a fresh mozzarella with a luscious, creamy interior—is characteristically mild in flavor, this version was almost flavorless. (Think skim milk when you’re expecting cream.) It goes to show just how much every single ingredient of a dish counts when working for simple-and-sublime (versus simple-to-a-fault) results.

While I’ve always been a fan of the food at this venue’s mother ship, The Cheese Shop, I rarely ate there. The snug spot is so popular, it was nigh impossible to snag a table at times I wanted to eat. Fortunately, the much more spacious Cheese Bar has loads of seating—casual and communal farmhouse-style tables with benches along one side and chairs on the other, as well as seats at the bar. I’m sure I’ll be a frequent visitor.

The Cheese Bar is at 2925 Ingersoll; 515-277-7828; cheesebardsm.com.

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