Tired of eating lunch at your desk? Know there’s no way you’ll be able to snag a spot on a park bench? Well, assuming you’re in the Union Square/Greenwich Village area, then you can make your way to La Maison du Croque Monsieur, a quiet and cozy spot to enjoy a nice lunch away from all the hustle and bustle.
The building that houses La Maison has a pretty interesting history itself. Anaïs Nin, the writer, used to rent the place and operate her own manually powered printing press there with her lover and her husband. The partners of La Maison loved that their restaurant, whose name comes from the words croquer, meaning “to crunch or bite,” and monsieur, which means “mister,” would be in the same building that was previously leased by Nin, a woman who, in their eyes, embodied “the art of crunching or biting men.” Nice.
Going along with that, all the sandwiches on the menu are named after Nin’s past lovers, from the Mr. Eduardo, which has bresaola, bechamel, and smoked mozzarella to the Mr. Gore, which has portobello mushroom, sundried tomatoes, pine nuts, and goat cheese.
While there are “new,” vegetarian, and dessert varieties of sandwiches, I went with a classic option–the Croque Mr. Henry, which is your standard ham, or jambon de paris in this case, bechamel, and choice of cheese. From the cheeses, you can pick between gruyere gourmino, chimay, tickler cheddar, French raclette, and comté. Don’t worry if you’re not a cheese connoisseur and feel completely overwhelmed by those options. There’s a handy board on the wall that tells you all the qualities and flavor profiles of them. No matter what you choose, however, you know it’s going to be good because Murray’s is their cheese provider (and Murray’s is seriously amazing).
To go accompany my sandwich I ordered a side of carrot salad just because I realized I had never had carrot salad before and I was quite curious what that entailed. Why not?
Well, the carrot salad came with essentially a whole bunch of shredded carrots and some golden raisins. And honestly, I was kind of obsessed with it. The vinaigrette was tangy and the carrots were fresh and I savored every bite. The sandwich was simple–grilled with high quality ham and flavorful, melty cheese. All in all, it was a lovely lunch to have while sitting in their charming upstairs area and reading my book (unfortunately not by Anaïs Nin, but that would’ve been cool). It’s nice to feel transported out of the always busy New York City every once in a while and La Maison du Croque Monsieur is a wonderful little place to do that.
Croque Mr. Henry with comté, carrot salad
17 E 13th St
New York, NY 10003