April 12, 2004 | Ask Gael
What do you eat when you’re feeling wicked?

         A big, fat, squishy croque monsieur strikes me as the perfect defiance to both Atkins and Ornish. Lately, I’ve succumbed more than once to Mitch London’s crusty creation at Fairway Café. Thirty years ago, drawn by the lush smells of a Parisian crêpe stand, London tasted a ham-and-cheese crêpe with its unexpected dab of béchamel, the creamy classic French sauce he considers “much underrated.” His remembrance of crêpes past is reflected in the café’s rich and oozing croque monsieur, a billowing, grill-tanned beauty that proves you don’t have to be French to master béchamel. French boiled ham and imported Gruyère are layered between slices of bread with “lots and lots of béchamel—and it isn’t béchamel without a little nutmeg,” London warns. Monsieur comes with cornichons (of course), Dijon mustard, and a tassel of mixed greens for $7.50. “And there’s more grated Gruyère on top,” he says. “My God, they’re getting a frigging soufflé.”

2127 Broadway, near 74th Street 212 595 1888

Patina Restaurant Group