Flatiron Lunch: On Revisit, Beecher’s Sandwiches and Mac and Cheese Still Taste Great
Every Friday we go south of the ML boundaries in search of a delicious lunch. Sometimes it’s Murray Hill south or the Flatiron District, sometimes Gramercy and everything in between- but we just like to call it Flatiron Lunch.
When I first took over as Flatiron contributor, I met the former contributor, Ultra Clay, and ML contributor Brian Hoffman. When I asked if they had any restaurants recommendations for FL, they both said I should make a return visit to Beecher’s. It had just opened, and both of them liked the food…and the free samples.
Over the past year, I have visited Beecher’s a handful of times. It wasn’t until I met the owner of Fonté coffee while on vacation that I started buying stuff from Beecher’s. If you were wondering, Fonté coffee is sold at Beecher’s (as well as at Macchiato in midtown, where you can buy the espresso beans by the pound. I switched to these beans for my morning cappuccino, and I couldn’t be happier. Long story short: Fonté coffee is great.)
My default for Beecher’s would be to call it a cheese shop that happens to have a couple of prepared food options, including some salads with sliced meats and/or cheeses. The plain caesar salad with flagship cheese without meat was $7. The chef salad with salami, curds, beans, peppers, and mushrooms which actually looked pretty good is $12.
They also had some small to-go containers of side salads (kale and Brussels sprouts, penne and smoked flagship salad, black beans and couscous, etc.) At $5 each, this add-on dishes seemed too pricey.
I loved this sign on the tip jar, especially since I recently had a conversation with one of the employees at Arethusa Farm that cow tipping is not something she has ever seen or done, even growing up on a farm. I also saw the headline to this great article on Slate, debunking the myth of cow tipping. Shortly after seeing that article, I saw: “Chuck Norris doesn’t go cow tipping, the cows tip themselves out of fear.”
The sandwiches always struck me as the high end of ML prices. Not crazy, but for $9, a grilled ham and cheese better be really good. In their posts, Clay and Brian had already tried a couple of the sandwiches (including the big deal sandwich which Brian liked came down in price from $11 to $10), so I picked the ham, egg and cheese hoping it would be more filling than some of the protein-less options. Yes, I technically had an egg sandwich for lunch. But here at ML we don’t discriminate against breakfast items for lunch. Additionally, you FL’ers previously picked Doughnut Plant as the one of the best lunches in our area.
After taking my order and name, they have this smart system of putting a sticker with the customer’s name on the handle of the grill press so they can easily find the rightful owner when the sandwich is ready. They also time the toasting, so there is no risk of getting a cold grilled cheese sandwich.
The basic the egg sandwich with Flagship and Just Jack cheeses is $7.50. For $9 total, you can add ham and chipotle spread. This was an awesome sandwich. The buttery crust of the sandwich was perfect, and all of the fillings were great together. Despite my concerns about the size of the sandwich, I only finished about 2/3 of it.
On my next visit, I had to try the “World’s Best Mac and Cheese”. Seems like a pretty ridiculous statement, right? The world’s best? I mean, come on. I hate this type of hyperbolic statement. Isn’t it better to manage expectations? The prices seem to have increased since Brian visited. The small size is now $6.50 and the large at $10.50.
Now that tirade is off my chest, this was an outstanding mac and cheese. It has a lot of different flavors of cheesiness, but most distinctly there is this great sharp cheddar taste, probably from their flagship cheese.
When they first opened, Beecher’s were serious about the free samples. It was a great strategy to get visitors trying things while in the store. On one visit, they only had some cold curds. They were neither squeaky nor warm.
But on a subsequent visit, they had warm curds and just jack to taste. Both were very fresh. And welcome by me.
Beechers has lost some its early opening steam, and more importantly, some of the free samples. But it is still a great sandwich and cheese shop. And, something dear to many of our hearts, a mac and cheese shop.
THE + (What people who like this place will say)
- Amazing mac and cheese.
- Beecher’s sandwiches are what several grilled cheese trucks strive to taste like.
- I can fill up on samples before eating my meal, sometimes.
THE – (What people who don’t like this place will say)
- This mac and cheese isn’t the world’s best. That is just crazy talk.
- Those cheese curds were nasty when not fresh.
- The prices at Beecher’s are a dollar or two too high.
Beecher’s , 900 Broadway at 20th Street, (212) 466-3340