A Sandwich A Day: The Croque Monsieur à Cheval from Chez Lucienne
In this great city of ours, one could eat a different sandwich every day of the year—so that's what we'll do. Here's A Sandwich a Day, our daily look at sandwiches around New York. Got a sandwich we should check out? Let us know.—The Mgmt.
I find it very difficult to turn down a good croque monsieur. And when I say good, I mean the kind that's made with high quality, smoky, generously sliced cooked ham sandwiched in between crusty bread with a big handful of grated gruyère cheese, griddled in butter until melty and crisp, then topped with a mornay sauce—flavored with more gruyère, of course—and broiled until brown and bubbly. It's like a cross between a ham sandwich, a grilled cheese, and a Welsh rarebit all rolled into one. If any one of those elements were missing, I wouldn't even eat it if it were the only thing left in the dining car on a cross-country on the TGV.
I also find it very difficult to turn down good fried eggs. And when I say good, I mean bright-yolked and runny with whites that quiver around the center but transition slowly towards the edges into gloriously crispy browned bits. Forgot slow-cooked and tender; I like my fried eggs crisp and brown with plenty of salt and butter.
Finally, I find it very difficult to turn down good fries. And when I say good, I mean above all crisp, grease-free, 1/4-inch thick matchsticks, their surfaces covered in fine salt, their interiors fluffy and potatoe-y. The way you wish every McDonald's french fry would be.
Chez Lucienne, a mere stone's throw away from my apartment in Harlem has all three things, and what's more, puts 'em all together on a single plate. Their Croque Monsieur à Cheval ($10.95) is a brunch I find particularly difficult to turn down.
About the author: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt is the Chief Creative Officer of Serious Eats where he likes to explore the science of home cooking in his weekly column The Food Lab. You can follow him at @thefoodlab on Twitter, or at The Food Lab on Facebook.