My Neighborhood" profiles the interesting
characters and spaces that make New York,
well... New York.
These are the Places in
Hell's Kitchen's Kashkaval
Daniel Assaf and Corey
Written by Jessica Cogan
Photographed by Evan Sung
Walking along the speedily gentrifying
9th Ave, it'd be easy to miss Kashkaval. At first
glance, it seems a somewhat exotic deli -- straw
baskets in the windows and piles of meats and cheeses
just beyond. But if you look a little farther back,
you'll spot one of Hell's Kitchen's hidden treasures
-- Kashkaval's restaurant and wine bar.
Named after a tangy Bulgarian
cheese, Kashkaval does double duty as a gourmet
market for cheeses, meats and Mediterranean goodies,
and a cozy restaurant perfect for sampling the shop's
wares, dipping fondue or enjoying a glass of wine.
Pando Andonopulo is the man behind
the cheese. He's a veteran cheese retailer, having
operated shops all over Manhattan for more than
fifteen years. It was at his 9th Avenue cheese shop
that he met the pair who would become his partners
High school friends Daniel Assaf
and Corey Samuels stumbled upon the shop while exploring
their neighborhood. They fell in love with one feature
in particular: a small walk-in refrigerator turned
fondue room at the back of the shop. Over steaming
pots of cheese, Corey, Daniel and Pando hatched
big plans for the larger space up the street.
For Kashkaval, they decided on
a small shop up front and a larger area in the back
for dining. They also wanted to add a wine bar to
the mix. So Corey, Daniel and Pando rolled up their
sleeves and with the help of a few friends, began
Pando built all of the furniture
-- benches, bar, tables and chairs. Combined with
newly exposed brick walls and strategically placed
candles, the result is a rustic, warm and welcoming
And then there's the food. The
more than one hundred cheeses and meats available
on the menu are imported from all over the world.
Diners can create sampler plates or choose from
a variety of Mediterranean appetizers and gourmet
paninis. The real highlights on the menu are the
fondue and the tabletop grills. Cheese fondue choices
include a deliciously sharp cheddar and ale combo,
rich gorgonzola and a smooth, traditional Swiss.
Meat and veggie combos can be cooked to satisfaction
and served sizzling using the tabletop grills.
Rounding out the Kashkaval experience
is the wine. Available by the glass or bottle, the
selection of affordable Old and New World wines
is strong and expanding every day. The word is flights
of wine may soon be added to the menu so that drinkers
can sample a variety of wines to pair up with their
Exceptional food and drink, great
prices, inviting atmosphere and friendly service
-- Kashkaval is the kind of spot every neighborhood
should have. Lucky me. Mine does.
Kashkaval is located at
856 9th Ave. between 55th and 56th.