6 at Astor Pl.; L at Third Ave.
The selection at this East Village institution, while prodigious, pales in comparison to the cheese fantasia at Murray's on Bleecker. But close to a hundred varieties should satisfy everyone except the pickiest cheese snobs—and even they've been known to slip in here on occasion. The reason? Unbelievably low prices that win out over nearly any supermarket or gourmet emporium in the city. Handwritten posters plastered over every inch of the windows advertise the deals as well as the daily specials, such as aged gouda, buttery Danish Blue Castello and mild Finnish lappi. There's always a selection of cheddar, brie, feta and other standards, and a large glass fridge displaying soft cheese and exotics. The store doesn't allow sampling, and enforces a half-pound minimum at the counter, but does strike a bargain on day-old and pre-packaged cheeses, available for a few bucks. Luckily, staffers know their products up and down, and if there's not a line you can ask as many questions as you like.Extra
In addition to cheeses, there's a deli counter and an olive bar, plus shelves lined with teas, juices, cookies, crackers, and condiments. Early-comers can snag baked goods; baguettes and bagels from the likes of Balthazar and H&H.