La Maison du Croque Monsieur
17 E 13th St (5th Ave & University Pl)
City: New York, NY
Phone: (212) 675-2227
Site: Visit the restaurant site
2nd Cuisine: French
Area: Union Square
Entree Price: <$10
As the name suggests, this spot near Union Square is dedicated solely to the classic French croque monsieur sandwich. Something reinforced by the friendly woman at the counter who greeted us with a thick French accent while guiding us through the menu. The restaurant itself is tight with seating for just a few on the ground level with additional seating one flight up. Dark wooden floors and shutters give the space a cottage feel, while an old church bench provides the seating. Lights fastened behind metal grates add to the room's warm glow.
Sandwiches arrive in their own brown paper sacks with names like Mr. Henry and Mr. Otto. I met up with Henry, a classic croque monsieur, made with Jambon de Paris ham, bechamel and a choice of cheese ranging from gruyere and chimaya to Tickler cheddar and gouda. I settled on the comté, a cheese dating back to the time of Charlemagne that is similar to gruyere, only slightly sharper.
As I removed the sandwich from its pouch, the first thing I noticed was its golden color. Two buttery slices of bread wrapped around a layer of ham and melted cheese. It's the kind of sandwich that can warm the heart on a chilly autumn or winter night. My only regret is that one might not be enough.
Aside from Mr. Henry, there is Mr. Antonin; roasted turkey, cranberry sauce and sage with melted provolone on top, and Mr. Lawrence, a mix of spicy tuna and cheddar. Vegetarians will gravitate to Mr. Gore, a sandwich made with plump portobellos, sundried tomato, goat cheese and pine nuts. Breakfast and dessert sandwiches are also offered.
La Maison du Croque Monsieur joins a new breed of gourmet sandwich shops in the city, like Little Muenster and Bikinis, each with their own personalities. And New York is a tastier place for it.
Review By: Thomas Rafael