Update on Monte Cristo-gate: Funny thing happened this morning in the D Magazine office. We are going to press and were about to print this list of Monte Cristo sandwiches compiled by Alice Laussaude in an upcoming issue.. The funny thing happened when an intern called the restaurants below to fact check the ingredients and the people she spoke with thought she’d lost her mind. Alice’s list of Monte Cristo sandwiches is made up. These sandwiches only exist in her humorous mind. It took eight editors and a heated 20-minute conversation to figure out Alice’s high-concept joke.
If you’ve never had a Monte Cristo, fancy people will tell you it’s a variation on a croque-monsieur. Normal people will tell you it’s a fried ham-and-cheese sandwich. Most people know that Bennigan’s long held the title for Best Monte Cristo on The Planet. But fancy Dallas chefs are reinventing the dish and rightly bringing back its popularity.
There are other fine Monte Cristos available around town, but these are the best.
The Monte Cristo here is exactly what you’d expect it to be: A clean-cut, simply prepared frat-boy version that will beat you up in the parking lot if you invite it to. Village Bakery bread, Southeast Family Farms ham, aged cheddar, tossed in the fryer for a light fry, then powdered sugar on top and a side of raspberry jam. Classic. Pro tip: This is an off-menu item, so you’ll have to ask for it.
This chic Spanish restaurant offers an interesting take. Served open-faced, the dish starts with a generous spread of triple berry jam on grilled toast. That’s topped with Marcos Salamanca Jamon Iberico and American cheese (which you wouldn’t think would work, but it totally does. It brings out the subtlety in the ham). Your server then dusts the entire operation with powdered sugar tableside. You simply have to experience this to understand it.
Filament’s version of the Monte Cristo comes from the mind of executive chef Matt McCallister, so it has to be good. (Side note: Did you know that any time you say “Matt McCallister” in this city, an angel gets a boob job?) The menu describes the dish simply as “city ham / sharp cheddar / raspberry smear,” but read between the forward slashes, people. It’s so much more than that. Pro tip: You can order a half sandwich if you’re going to #forage after lunch.
If you’ve never had the Crunchy Monte Cristo roll at Uchi, I don’t know why you even live in Dallas. It’s everything. Also be sure to wear your open-backed blouse or dress to get a 10% discount.**
As you undoubtedly know, chef Brian F. Luscher is back at the helm of the Grape while his executive chef, Sarah Chastain, takes her maternity leave. That means all kinds of on-the-fly specials from the master of meats himself. While the broccoli bites (which were only available until yesterday) were fantastic, his take on the Monte Cristo is, in a word, tremendous. He appears to be moving through the entire Bennigan’s menu until next St. Patrick’s Day, as an homage. Get there before it’s too late.
Honorable mention: Rapscallion
**I’m assuming. This may be a lie.