If you’re a fan of bountiful helpings of alpine cheeses (and I am) you may find yourself visiting the boutique East Village restaurant Raclette, which serves the Swiss dish, raclette. There, the smiling chef uses a knife to heap bubbling cheese on top of your roasted potatoes while holding a wheel of morbier or raclette de chevre.
The establishment, which has risen in popularity since going viral after being featured in New York Magazine. The publication identified Raclette for its ability to take takes melted cheese to the next level,” and described the tartines as “spectacular,” “elegant and eclectic. The New York Times quickly followed suit, as well as The Village Voice, and Business Insider. Patrons need to book months in advance to gain a seat at one of their tables.
When I visited the excellent eatery for dinner in mid-June, I chose to enjoy their expertly toasted croques, the American, which had incredible leek fondue, caramelized onions, roasted garlic, and white cheddar. Additionally, I benefitted from consuming the Suisse raclette, which was a decadent choice. Beside my dressed arugula salad, the pickled pearl onions, and prosciutto was my bed of roasted potatoes that was top off with an abundance of raclette cheese. Easily one of richest meals I’ve had in a very long time, the warm cheese complemented everything else on the plate. The sociable and relaxed setting was ideal, and it to elevate the dining experience, where the tartines become shareable, and liberally served cheeses can be forked and consumed widely.
Raclette has launched a KickStarter campaign in the hopes that they’ll build funds to better accommodate its growing customer base. While their 14-seater set up is cafe-like, quaint and possibly romantic, it is a tad claustrophobic. In the interest of cutting the hours-long waiting times for walk-in visitors and a desire to grant comfort, they’re seeking expansion. They’re in the market to acquire a currently-vacant restaurant space that’s just half a block from the current location. The newer location would prove to be an important investment, offering better climate control, a ventilation system, and more elbow room for visiting diners.
“I opened Raclette NYC in February 2015 as a humble “labour-of-love” spot serving classic, authentic raclette dishes, and other European comfort foods at modest prices,” said the business’ KickStarter page. “While New York offered a limitless number of quick-casual options for certain types of cuisine — pizza, Chinese, Korean, Mexican, Indian, and deli food, to name a few — it lacked restaurants that offered classic French and European comfort fare at affordable price points in casual settings.
Having lived in Europe for most of the naughts and gotten used to walking to the corner bistro for a quick and delicious croque or tartine, or enjoying Raclette in the homes of my friends, I felt deprived of these things when I finally landed back in New York. Raclette’s mission is to bring delicious, authentic and classically prepared raclettes, croques and tartines to the American public at an everyday price.”
The restaurant is also looking to implement an online reservation system that employs prepaid, all-inclusive ticket seating.