La Fromagerie Cheese and Meat Shop in Old Town

Feast on cheese platters at La Fromagerie

Every lunch should involve the cream of the crop.

We've found that this is a guarantee at La Fromagerie. The Old Town cheese shop has converted part of its space into a café, creating a new menu of salads and sandwiches from its well-curated selection of meat and cheese.

Chef-owner Sebastien Tavel often relies on crusty baguettes, filling them with slices of fennel salami, semi-hard shard cheddar cheese and roasted garlic mayonnaise ($12), or weekly specials. His recent cider-braised pork belly was artfully autumnal, layered with apple slices and sweet-potato aioli ($12).

For a cheesemonger, the French chef is liberal with vegetables. Kale and pecans form the base of a spicy pesto that's slathered on a vegetarian sandwich of roasted beets and kohlrabi with fresh goat cheese ($10). Bright fronds of wild chickweed are the base of a colorful beet salad ($12.50) tossed with dried cherries and a disk of roasted Pipe Farms goat cheese.

The shop also offers traditional meat and cheese platters ($15 to $25), along with pork rillettes ($11) and a meaty terrine of short ribs ($12) served with butternut squash and mustard dressing.

Make it an entirely European lunch by pairing your meal with a glass of wine: The shop's new license has just come through.

La Fromagerie, 1222 King St., Alexandria; 703-879-2467 or lafromagerieonline.com