Address: 856 9th Ave
Best Bet: Cheddar & Ale Fondue ($12)
Kashkaval is the type of place you like to think of as a secret spot. It's a Mediterranean cheese shop in the front, complete with big glass case and jars filled with treats unknown, and in the back a cozy (read: somewhat cramped) space that's warm and intimate enough to make you forget your dining in a cheese shop.
Really though, this secret spot is everybody's secret spot, making it near impossible to get a table without waiting a solid 20-40 minutes (and that's on weeknights). But Kashkaval has two things going for it that make the wait worthwhile: It's crazy delicious and crazy cheap.
The two things you can't miss here: the fondue and the cold sampler plate. The fondue ($12) is meant for a single person, but can easily fill two. All of the flavors are great (we're talking about melted cheese) and served with soft pieces of French baguette. The true best is the Cheddar & Ale, a thick and creamy cheese made for the melting, which gets a little nutty flavor from the ale in the mix.
The sampler plate is the reason the word smorgasbord was invented, an over-sized plate filled with heaping piles of five freshly made dips of your choosing ($12) and a basket stuffed with fresh pita bread for your scooping pleasure. Kaskaval has got the full-flavor and texture spectrum covered, from the salty lentil tapenade, to crunchy walnut pepper spread, to the zesty red pepper dip: every option satisfies a specific portion of your pallete.
Kashkaval is an interactive, get your hands involved and your shirt dirty, eating experience. And while this one of a kind dipping and dunking experience might not be a secret any longer, there is still one thing nobody knows: How can something so good can cost so little?