04 December, 2008
As much as I love food and wine and trying new cuisines, I admit that I am still a bit of a chicken to eat just about anything without prior knowledge of it, or better yet, a good whiff of it. Thus, I introduce to you my finicky cheese tastes. When it comes to the stinky stuff, I usually let my nose guide me, and the stinkier the cheese, the more my stomach churns. However, my palate has matured enough to realize that not everything that comes from or with mold is inedible (SOME things, but not everything). And to a cheesy chooser like myself, there could be no bigger blessing and compassionate help than the good folks at Cube.
Located on La Brea just south of Melrose, you might drive right past the little cafe without giving it a second thought. Once the location of a number of fab but flopped eateries, Cube Cafe and Cheese Bar has found a cozy home in one of the best cross-sections and main streets in L.A. between West Hollywood, Fairfax, Hancock Park... you get the picture. Cube is the perfect combination of unpretentious class and simple yet elegant undauting presentation.
Upon entering the brightly colored cafe, you are drawn to the various food items they sell in their market area along the walls of the main dining room. Their cuisine is mostly Italian, as you will see by the various pastas, sauces, marinades, jarred foods, and wines. Lots of wines. However, there's no way to miss the long cheese bar in the center of the cafe with various blocks of cheese. Behind the bar is a well-informed cheese and salumi expert who gently steered my picky palate in the right direction towards a mild and absolutely buttery gruyere and delicate cow's cheese infused with lavender and espresso, appropriately called "Barely Buzzed". Check out their weekly varying cheese list before indulging. Be prepared, though, to spend more than your local grocery prices per ounce for this good stuff.
The lunch and dinner menu include local fare mixed with Italian traditions. Lucky for you and your wino friends, there is a great wine list (sorry, there is NOW a corkage fee of $12, but their Italian wines are quite good). So feel free to bring your own bottle of ol' faithful vin préféré. But what makes Cube the best little neighborhood bistro has to be the cheese... it's gotta be the cheese. Spike Lee would agree.
**Update 12/9/2008: there is a corkage fee of $12 now that Cube sells its own wine.