Cheese Whizzes

DTLA Cheese fills our hearts with fromage

You may have heard from GQ: Downtown is so hot right now.

But what's a hip urban enclave without a dedicated cheesemonger?

Leave it to sisters Lydia and Marnie Clarke, owners of Claremont Cheese Cave, to rectify Downtown's shocking lack of culture. (Get it?) The the newest addition to Grand Central Market is their outpost, DTLA Cheese, a fromagerie that's a thrill to visit.

The knowledgeable staff shepherded us from one side of the display to the other, offering nibbles of barnyard-odored Grayson; a raw, washed-rind cheese from Virginia ($23 per pound); and a tangy, salty Monte Enebro goat cheese ($39 per pound) from Spain.

If you choose something particularly runny, like the buttery Kunik cheese from New York ($37 per pound), they'll tuck an ice pack into your bag to keep things cool.

Raclette and a pork loin sandwich

Chef and co-owner Reed Herrick has created a laser-sharp lunch menu to pair, like the toothsome baguette sandwiches with Hobbs ham and double cream Pave d'Affinois ($5)–a funkier cousin to the classic jambon-beurre.

Don't miss the raclettes ($7), either, made from roasted baby potatoes blanketed with a stretchy layer of melted cheese and toppings like bacon or garlic mushrooms.

"I figured most customers were poutine-ed out by now," says Herrick. "I think this is more exciting."

Don't worry; you had us at melted cheese.