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Who makes the best CROQUE MONSIEUR?

  • a

Hey Gang,

Yes, I am a true Francophile (especially when it comes to food)!

Does anyone know a place that does a CROQUE MONSIUER very authentically?

I tried it at TARTINE (West Village) and PIGAILLE (Hell's Kitchen). Both were very disappointing.

A great CHOCOLAT CHAUD too...

What about LE GAMIN or is it LES DEUX GAMINS? (very confusing)

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  1. I've heard Balthazar's is very good. I get a Croque Madame at a local place in Brooklyn that I find fantastic - called A Table in Fort Greene.

    1. Le Deux Gamins went out of business a couple of years ago. I noticed that the Le Gamin on Bedford has changed it's name to Cafe Henri or somesuch. Anyone know if this extends to the rest of the empire?

      I had a pretty good croque monsieur at Financier on Stone St. Prices there are fairly gentle. I was disappointed with the version at Ceci Cela, although I like the place a lot for croissants and pastries.

      7 Replies
      1. re: Peter Cuce
        a
        Atomic Betty

        Is FINANCIER a take-out or eat-in (cafe) place?

        Thanks!

        AB

        1. re: Atomic Betty

          I'm not Peter, but the answer is both. It also has terrific coffee, pastries and panini.

          1. re: Bowfinger
            a
            Atomic Betty

            Going to check out Financier...sounds great!

            AB

            1. re: Bowfinger

              The coffee is good there, it's roasted by a local roaster. The pastries could be a lot better. One would think they would have a good Financier, since that is their name. Ceci Cela has the best Financier.
              Le Petit Abeille has a good Croque Monsieur.

              1. re: foodwhisperer

                Re Le Petit Abeille: Thank You. As I recall, they make a thick, delicious Belgium-style hot chocolate (which I have not had for a couple of years).

                They no longer have a location on Hudson St., but there are other locations. Hopefully, they make their Croque Monsieur with bechamel. If so, I look forward to a visit (before giving up carbs... again). I also like their burgers.

                www.petiteabeille.com

                1. re: ZaZa

                  I go to the one on W. Broadway. They also make good waffles and good burgers

          2. I like the one at Bar 6, on 6th and 13th.

            1. I would recommend the croque monsieur (and croque madame) at Bacchus on Atlantic Avenue and Bond Street in Boerum Hill, Brooklyn. Also, there is a new Le Gamin on Vanderbilt Avenue in Brooklyn.

              1. I too am searching for the perfect Croque Monsieur...
                Bar Six on 6th near 12th St. makes a great one with creamy bechamel... yum... but they only have it on their lunch menu.
                It's the best one I've found so far.

                3 Replies
                1. re: Sharon

                  What role does bechamel play in a croque monsieur?

                  1. re: bystander99

                    While not authentic, I've noticed a few places on this side of the pond put a bit of bechamel in their croque monsieur -- and I gotta say that it really, really works.

                  2. re: Sharon

                    Right O...about bechamel in the Croque Monsieur. (Didn't have it in France). One thing's for sure, it makes you chubby...I think we have chubbier people here. (Such a word, makes me cringe on CH...so shoot me)!

                    Thanks for the BAR 6 rec. It's walking distance from my house. Hope it's still good (as this is an old thread).

                  3. Gotta go with Pastis on this one. I've been to a couple parties that Pastis catered, and the croque Monsieur was rocking....great bread, thin layer of delish sauce, authentic french ham, and a nice cheesy layer of quality gruyere.

                    Of course, pretty much anyone can whip up a similar version at home.

                    1. agreed with Pastis and Bar 6. but don't forget Le Jardin-lunch time only-.after midnight, Le Express is a good choice.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Aki

                        PASTIS, on Little West 12th Street, has been closed for the longest time due to work on the building.

                        I would NOT recommend L'EXPRESS...was terribly disappointed the one time I ate there, which did not warrant a return.

                      2. Eric Asimov raved about the croque monsieur at Le Quinze (Houston & Sullivan) in his review in the Times; however, I was not particularly impressed. Admittedly, I am no connoisseur of the croque monsieur.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: Desidero

                          My wife loves the C.M. and likes the ones a Les Gamin a lot.

                          1. re: Desidero

                            LE QUINZE (Houston & Sullivan) has also closed.

                          2. c
                            Cousin Larry

                            While on the larger side, I really like the one at Nice Matin on the UWS.

                            1. Payard makes a good one as well. I also had a decent one at the Creperie Cafe (I think that's the name). Both on the UES.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: jacinthe

                                Payard (on Houston St.), keeps their Croque Monsieur in the fridge showcase; it's already made...but then again, maybe that's how it is with the restaurants....

                              2. The best croque monsieur Iate in new york is at Le Quinze on Houston street.
                                Iwent there after the new york times review and it was amazing.

                                1. The one at Fairway's cafe is superb. Mmmmmmm

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: Amy
                                    a
                                    Atomic Betty

                                    Amy,

                                    Do you mean FAIRWAY, the supermarket, has a cafe? Or is there actually a Fairway restaurant?

                                    Thanks,
                                    AB

                                    1. re: Atomic Betty

                                      Fairway has a cafe upstairs! It is most wonderful. Becomes a steakhouse at night. Great breakfast and lunch menu, nice desserts too!

                                  2. FYI I just went to Pastis for brunch yesterday, and the croque madame there is even better than I remembered. They must be making the bechamel sauce with white wine, or doing something else that is above and beyond the call of duty for a Meatpacking place that would be mobbed even if they served dog food. Very difficult to find a croque madame (with the egg on top) - but Pastis has got it down.

                                    bellastraniera
                                    Gastro Chic
                                    http://www.gastrochic.com

                                    1. I have to vote for the C.M at Pastis...perfect! Plus, it so great to sit outside and peoplewatch with a bottle of wine on a cool day. The best!

                                      1. by far, the best i've had in nyc was at dumont on union and metropolitan in williamsburg. only available for brunch i think.

                                        1. Had a Croque Monsieur from ALMONDINE on Water Street today. Heaven. A touch of Bechamel, perfect bread with a bit of tang and that ham and that cheese. Very recommended. No the Bechamel is not what I remember either but after trying it, I forget what I remembered and now remember just the right amount of Bechamel...

                                          12 Replies
                                          1. re: miabis

                                            Almondine is in Brooklyn (this is the Manhattan board). Oh, and the thread is 8-10 years old!

                                            1. re: thegforceny

                                              But I'm sure you remember that 8-10 years ago there weren't separate boards for Manhattan vs. Outer Boroughs :)

                                              1. re: Elisa515

                                                Uh no, there was always a stand alone Manhattan Board. This would have gone on the "Best" board, I can't even remember the official name, that covered the entire region :)

                                                On the subject at hand, Dominique Ansell has a nice one as does Cannelle in Queens.

                                                1. re: stuartlafonda

                                                  Clearly, I've been on CH longer than you have. :)

                                                  In 2004, when this thread originated, there was still one board for NYC, where it was okay to recommend places in multiple boroughs all within the same thread.

                                                  1. re: Elisa515

                                                    Really? I don't remember that. I came on board in 'O2.I was a Manhattan and Queens hound and don't remember the split of the City. My apologies!

                                              2. re: thegforceny

                                                I googled for Croque Monsieurs. For something specific it seems to be that city-wide (or even beyond) is fine. I'd go to the Bronx for a great Croque Monsieur. Or to Jersey. Or Oregon for that matter. Or at least put it on the list!

                                                1. re: miabis

                                                  Naw, gotta stick to Manhattan on the Manhattan Board. Feel free to ask the same question on other boards, though.

                                                  My favorite Croque Monsieur was at the late La Fondue. Anyone know if Artisanal has Croque Monsieur?

                                                  Update: I checked the Artisanal website. They have Croque Monsieur for Brunch and Lunch. Perhaps someone reading this will be familiar with it. Personally, I'd take the chance.

                                                  1. re: Elisa515

                                                    I took my parents to artisinal for lunch about six months ago (they must go for the grougers every trip), dad has had a croque monsieur habit ever since their trip to paris in the fall- anyhow, he loved it if that counts for something.... (I don't eat meat)

                                                    1. re: Elisa515

                                                      Me too. I'll take the chance at ARTISANAL...better yet, I'd like to start making Croque Monsieur at home, with Brioche Bread (that's what makes it so good, with the Béchamel)--that's what TARTINE's always used!

                                                    2. re: miabis

                                                      Ken's Artisan Bakery
                                                      338 NW 21st Ave
                                                      Portland OR 97209

                                                      You said........

                                                      1. re: strangemd

                                                        Lovely. I'll add it to the OREGON list!

                                                    3. re: thegforceny

                                                      Thanks. It's important to differentiate between the Water Streets in Brooklyn & Manhattan. I was all ready to go to Water Street, here in Manhattan, not realizing the ALMONDINE place is in Brooklyn.

                                                      There's no way I'm going to Brooklyn for a Croque Monsieur, sorry...I have some very serious CH visits that hold priority in Brooklyn :-)

                                                  2. OK. This is an old thread--but back in 2004, I enjoyed TARTINE's Croque Monsieur numerous times...it made me chubby, so I had to stay away for a while.

                                                    More recently, however, a couple of weeks ago--I, too, suffered grave disappoint with their Croque Monsieur. I asked the Server: "What happened?" The response: "They've been changing chefs." That's not good enough for me.

                                                    Afterward, I walked to VARSANO'S for a couple of Dark Chocolate S'mores (to help overcome my disappointment...and the overwhelming nasty taste of, possibly, a bad butter mix for some kind of spread, which I've never tasted before). Nothing helped...the disappointment was too great.

                                                    I like a Croque Monsieur made with bechamel. TARTINE was always my favorite; but for now...it's all over. If they're serving a Croque Monsieur like the one I had the other day, they may as well close. I should write to the Owner to express my utter dismay...and will probably do so.

                                                    Thank you for the renewal of this OP. Hopefully it will save any further embarrassment on my behalf for a recent rec to TARTINE. (I now feel compelled to return to every restaurant I recommend within the same week; if I don't stop, I going to get chubby again).

                                                    2 Replies
                                                    1. re: ZaZa

                                                      Re TARTINE: My prior comment was unjust. It’s unfair to show disrespect to a cherished neighborhood restaurant I’ve enjoyed for so many years, especially when they're trying to get situated with a new chef. That can be rectified; hopefully, it will. There can be many reasons for an off day, or phase, in the life of a restaurant.

                                                      To say a place should be closed, because it is not up to par at a particular time, is utter betrayal on my behalf. I’m sorry for that statement. (If that were to happen, many people, including myself, would be truly disheartened).

                                                      I should have returned the Croque Monsieur to the kitchen with explanation that I’ve had it many times before; it didn’t taste right.

                                                      1. re: ZaZa

                                                        If you had the croque monsieur at Odeon, I think you will return it.