Dairy Monster

Murray's Cheese Bar means you don't have to leave to eat the cheese

We've had fever dreams about running through Murray's Cheese Shop, nicking products from the shelves and treating ourselves to a dairy smorgasbord.

Now, thanks to the brand-new Murray's Cheese Bar, which is mere steps from the Murray's flagship in Greenwich Village, we don't have to risk jail time to accomplish that goal.

Cheese whiz Tia Keenan has designed a menu that emphatically states this a cheese bar (first) with a great wine selection (second). Think of a steakhouse or sushi bar; now replace that protein focus with dairy.

See Prairie Breeze Cheddar and Left Hand Milk Stout melted together with mustard, Worcestershire and black pepper and draped over a burger, a hunky tomato slice and a slab of Balthazar seven-grain bread ($16). Less an open-face cheeseburger, this dish is a knife-and-fork affair with a welcome patty interruption appearing between cheese and bread.

Ellsworth Creamery's springy cheese curds are fried and served with a dip of blue cheese ($10) and celery. It's an "almost pornographic" cheese-on-cheese pairing, deems Keenan.

This fall, in place of whole-animal dinners, look for large-format Raclette dinners, with a half-wheel of cheese melted tableside.

Murray's Cheese Bar, 264 Bleecker St. (between Morton and Leroy sts.); 646-476-8882 or murrayscheesebar.com