The list of places where you can eat lunch at downtown's Grand Central Market is growing by the day, or so it seems. Apart from the multiple stands that have been serving Chinese, Mexican and Middle Eastern food for years, the new crop of places that signal the market's resurgence continue to open. Horse Thief BBQ and Eggslut are going strong, and Wexler's Deli looks like it will be open any minute.
The most recent great lunch I've found is at DTLA Cheese, the cheese counter that opened in late December. Owned by Lydia and Marnie Clarke, who also own Cheese Cave in Claremont, DTLA Cheese has plenty of picnic supplies, a varied range of domestic and imported cheeses, and all manner of jarred and pickled things to accompany those cheeses. The counter service is exuberantly helpful, and they're happy to let you sample whatever you'd like.
DTLA Cheese also serves lunch and, as you might imagine, many of its offerings are cheese-focused, including raclettes (which they're calling “cheesy potatoes”) and a griddle-cooked “three-cheese sammy.” But the lunch I had was kissed by cheese rather than cheese-laden, and it still turned out to be one of the better lunches I've had at the Market.
The pork loin sandwich comes on crusty baguette, with piles of thinly sliced pork loin, a forest of leafy arugula and a flurry of shaved pecorino. It comes with a side of tart, almost floral pickled vegetables – cauliflower, onions and carrots – which serve as the perfect foil to the sandwich's hefty meat.
I also tried a roasted beet salad, which was refreshingly different from the standard beet-and-cheese concoction you can now find everywhere. Instead, it was a light mix of beets, Honeycrisp apples, thin slices of celery, arugula and shaved watermelon radish. Basque sheep cheese tops the whole thing off. It's a wonderful jumble of textures, a generous medley of crunch and tang.
DTLA Cheese also offers small grab-and-go sandwiches, with simple combinations such as ricotta, roasted tomato and balsamic vinegar; and salami and fontina. It's a great addition to the ever-greater lunch options at Grand Central Market.