by Steven Doyle
The Monte Cristo is the kissing cousin of the sandwich called the Croque Monsieur. The Monsieur is made up of a grilled Gruyere cheese loaded with thin slices of ham and fried in clarified butter. You can find both sandwiches served in and around Dallas with no finer example of the Cristo served at the Holy Grail Pub in Plano. It is a serious sandwich.
The sandwich claims roots dating back to a depression-era dinner staple called a cheese dream and the deep-fried grilled cheeses called “Frenchees” native to Nebraska. Both are deep fried cheese sandwiches, the latter is sometimes dipped in an egg wash then rolled in Corn Flakes. The beautiful sandwich rose to fame in 1966 when it appeared on the menu at Disney’s Cajun restaurant Blue Bayou, adjacent to the Pirates of the Caribbean ride. And certainly we all recall the menu at Bennigan’s where they proudly served up the deep fried sandwich filled with turkey and ham.
The version at Holy Grail is incredible. The Grail’s Monte Cristo has ham, turkey, Swiss and American cheeses, deep fried and sprinkled with powdered sugar and served with a side of blackberry preserves all for a mere eleven dollars That is about fifteen bucks less than Disney’s sandwich, but you probably figured that.
Pair up this sandwich with one of the many incredible beers on tap.