As a recent meal at Zero Restaurant + Bar confirmed, chef Vinson Petrillo’s dishes are worth the price of admission, which starts at a cool $59 per person. But it caught my eye when Charleston City Paper, after receiving word of the downtown restaurant’s new happy hour menu, declared its “combo cheese board and two glasses of wine” a “steal” at $25.
Zero George clearly feels the same, since the deal is only available for one hour a day. But if you really want to get the most cheese for your buck, your destination ought to be goat.sheep.cow North.
Each night at 7 p.m., goat.sheep.cow shuts down its retail counter to focus on café service. The take-home crowd isn’t entirely out of luck, though: When the display case goes dark, a grab-and-go basket of wrapped precut cheese wedges remains atop it. And every piece of cheese is sold for $2.50, regardless of weight or variety.
The savings can be more or less spectacular, depending on which cheeses you choose, but the markdown generally translates to at least a 25 percent discount. Last week, I picked up $14.48 worth of Scharfe Maxx, Bleu des Basques, Rahmtaler Reserve and Pleasant Ridge Reserve (normally priced at $30 a pound) for $10.
Because goat.sheep.cow’s staff is highly invested in cheese, there’s usually an employee around to guide your selection process, should you want to know which wedge in the basket has the most prominent grassy notes or was made from the milk of an heirloom Spanish ewe. But $2.50 buys you the right to make bad decisions: I prefer to pick remainders haphazardly from the grab bag, and then later figure out which cheese I like best.
I’m in no way opposed to industrial-grade cheese: I consider string cheese an excellent afternoon snack. But cheese is one of those artisanal products that really do get more special with age and care, and those attributes command a high cost. So it’s awfully nice when specialness goes on sale.