You probably know that the area we’ve come to call Detroit was established by French settlers in the 1700s. In fact, the name Detroit comes from the French for “the strait,” which refers to the Detroit River. With that in mind, it’s no wonder you don’t need to look far and wide to find delectable French dishes in this town.
One of those dishes is perfect for chilly Michigan days when you want something warm and comforting. In fact, it’s not one but two dishes: the Croque Monsieur and Croque Madame, typically distinguished by the inclusion or omission of a fried egg. At first glance, they may just seem like extravagant grilled cheese sandwiches, but one bite of these and your mouth will be watering for more.
This Belgian cafe has roots as a Detroit speakeasy during Prohibition. That’s sort of why it doubles as a feather bowling spot. Many pastimes, like bicycling, darts, archery and feather bowling were honored here for years. So, in between matches, players can indulge in an array of Belgian and other multi-national dishes, including a Croque Madame and Croque Monsieur. It’s smokey turkey for the Madame and baked ham for the Monsieur, but both use melted Holland cheese on grilled rye.
With a few different menus, you can abandon yourself to the taste of a Croque sandwich during lunch and brunch hours at Bistro Joe’s in Birmingham. The Croque Madame is served during brunch and is made with ham, bechamel sauce and an egg on toasted bread. During lunch hours, you’ll find the Croque Monsieur, which is identical to the Madame, save for gruyere cheese instead of egg.
New kid on the block Savant recently opened its doors in Midtown for oysters, ratatouille, calamari and, yes, a Croque Madam sandwich. It’s packed with Parisian ham, bechamel, brulee gruyere and a fried farm egg. Savant also recently started serving brunch on Sundays, so you can get your Croque with a mimosa or freshly brewed cappuccino.
Located in Northville, Cracked is a breakfast and brunch spot that uses locally-sourced ingredients for its food and drinks, and includes a partnership with Zingerman’s Coffee Company for all your caffeinated needs. On the “Sam-MICH-es” side of the menu, you’ll see the “Cracked Madame.” Their take on the French sandwich combines ham, cheese, housemade mornay sauce and a fried egg on brioche bread. Drop the egg from the equation and you have yourself a Cracked Monsieur.
With a legacy that dates back to 1952, the Caucus Club is an icon of Detroit history. While the Club closed its doors in 2012 after decades of changing ownership, it made a comeback in 2017. During lunch hours (11 a.m. – 3 p.m.), you will find the perfect unification of the croque Madame and Monsieur. Cutting the sandwich in half, both sides feature smoked ham and gruyere cheese on sourdough bread, but one half contains a fried egg, while the other separates itself with mornay sauce and chives. It’s the best of both worlds.