EAST VILLAGE, Manhattan (WABC) --Edgar Villongco fell for raclette while he lived in Europe.
"It's a regional dish - very simple, a dish where cheese is really the star for the show," says Villongco.
Cheese is also the star of his restaurant, 'Raclette'. 'Raclette' is derived from the French word, 'racler', which means 'to scrape', so raclette cheese is meant to be melted and scraped onto the base. The base can consist of potato, bread, meat or veggies, but the cheese, which is melted in a device is what people are really after.
"We give a standard of two scrapes - really big scrapes of raclette," adds Villongco, "that's like oozing heaven on a plate."
Only very few say yes to a third scrape - a third scrape could tip you right off your chair.
The restaurant features other dishes such as traditional French grilled cheese sandwiches called 'croques', and open-faced sandwiches called 'tartines'. For something lighter, try the 'Mediteranee'. Chef Edgar cuts up asparagus, cherry tomatoes, and smashes garlic. He then tops it with feta and olive oil, and roasts it all.
"It's a little light that the potatoes and cheese works for spring and summer," says Edgar.
As for the people waiting on Avenue A? They're here for the Raclette.
"The way it drizzles all over the food - I've never seen that before - I just had to try it," said one customer.
The restaurant says they feel like they're helping introduce something the Swiss and the French are very proud about - they have had it for centuries, and 'Raclette' is happy to be respectfully introducing it.
3 cloves of garlic
1 bunch asparagus
3 stems thyme
Salt, pepper to taste
1/4 cup Extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes
1/4 cup good feta cheese
1 cup arugula
Preheat oven to 400
Smash garlic cloves with a knife
Take leaves off thyme
Slice asparagus into inch pieces
Slice tomatoes in half
Mix the tomatoes, asparagus and garlic with the olive oil, salt, pepper and thyme
Put on baking tray and top with cheese
Roast for 20 minutes
Serve over bed of arugula