Do you feel the need, the need for cheese? Introducing MELT Market and Cafe, the spectacularly gooey love child of former Westport-based Mirabelle Cheese Shop owners Andrea and Damon Itin. MELT, located in the up and coming section of Bridgeport at the corner of Lafayette Circle and Fairfield Ave is sleek and spacious with high tops as well as regular tables for seating and warm inviting color tones. The 2,200 square foot space seats plenty but if tables were pushed aside, this could be a fantastic place for a private function. But enough about things spatial, on to the celestial - this is a cheese lovers' nirvana -
What's for sale ? MELT is the purveyor of European as well as local cheeses -Cave-aged Gruyere, Bucheron de Chevre, Fior Sardo from Sardinia and Hudson Red from the Hudson Valley to name a few- and all types of cured meats -salami, bresaola, soppressata (hot or sweet), anything you may want to take away, along with crunchy loaves from (Long Island- based)Tom Cat bakery and New Haven's Whole G.
There are fancy mustards, decadent cookies, fig spreads and hot sauces along with some do-it-yourself fondue sets and a limited assortment of serving platters and linens for purchase. But MELT isn't merely a specialty shop but a fantastic new lunch hot-spot, right off 95 (exit 27A). Here's what's so special:
There were 3 of us for lunch so, naturally, we ordered enough for 8. First there were the "Melts" - toasted sandwiches on Baguette, whole wheat or whole grain bread. We ordered FRENCH BRIE AND FIG, lightly toasted and melted to oozing perfection. There was GOAT CHEESE AND ROASTED TOMATO on whole wheat where the tangy chevre and slightly caramelized tomato blended with the sweetness of the bread perfectly.
The GOAT CHEESE AND SWEET ONION RELISH was also tasty, although a little too sweet 1/2 way through. The CHEDDAR AND ROAST TURKEY, the most popular of the MELTS, was refreshing and hearty on whole grain. With crunchy pears and a smattering of Bacon, this was a carnival for the taste-buds. MELT also serves "MINI-MELTS" for younger or less sophisticated palettes with your (or your kid's) choice of PB and J, HAM and CHEESE, or PLAIN GRILLED CHEESE.
The salads at MELT are fresh and creative- try ROASTED BEETS wi/ FIELD GREENS, CARAMELIZED WALNUTS sprinkled with Raspberry Vinaigrette. Or sample the GOAT CHEESE and PINK GRAPEFRUIT for a refreshing and tangy compliment to your MELT. There are yummy soups offered as well, and the WHITE BEAN was particularly tasty but, alas, these aren't made on location but brought in from HALE AND HEARTY. Not home made but good none-the-less. (A suggestion, though - I would LOSE the biodegradable and environmentally friendly wooden spoons because, although great for the planet, are not great for soup consumption - they are completely flat!)
But on to better things. MELT also offers a variety of quiches and the most amazing MAC and CHEESE - either TELEGGIO and PARMEGGIANO or GRUYERE and EMMENTHALER. Also offered are the OVEN MELTS which are served in small, ramekin style bowls. These include BAKED CAMEMBERT with MARCONA ALMONDS and CLOVER HONEY as well as RACLETTE served with BOILED POTATO and CORNICHON.
And finally, there are the BOARDS. Andrea and Damon are happy to cater your affair, no matter how large, and they custom make these cheese or cheese and meat boards to your liking. You may choose from their wide array of meats and cheeses and they garnish with fresh and dried fruits, pickles, olives, the works. For more info on catering your next "do," give the Itin's a call at 203-557-0817. Or just stop by.
MELT is open Monday-Saturday for breakfast and lunch and closes at 7pm. The duo is applying for their alcohol license and if they get it, they will be golden. What could be better than a MELTed cheese combo on a crunchy baguette and a perfectly paired glass of wine to go with? Fight for it, Itins! And if it happens... je voudrais faire fondre!
MELT Market and Café is located at 7 Lafayette Circle, Bridgeport, CT. Regular hours are Monday through Saturday, 9 am to 7 pm. Tel 203.557.0817.