Battered Sandwiches?
August 3, 2008 10:02 PM   Subscribe

Where can I get a Monte Cristo sandwich in the East Bay?

I can't believe that I've gotten this far in life without learning that people sometimes deep-fry sandwiches without being clapped in irons and shipped to a hardscrabble island in the South Pacific. I must try one of these!

So where in the San Francisco Bay Area, preferably the East Bay, can I get a shining example of this culinary marvel?
posted by lore to Food & Drink (9 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
There are two types of Monte Cristo, of course; the sweet breakfast version, often made with berry jam or preserves and dusted with powdered sugar, and the savory version, sans sweet ingredients.

There are a number of spots for this wonderful sandwich; I believe Jodie's makes a good one, although I haven't been there for year's; Yelp says Mona's and Rudy's both serve them as well.
posted by luriete at 10:08 PM on August 3, 2008 [1 favorite]

(Jodie's makes the savory; not sure about the other spots - I prefer the savory myself.)
posted by luriete at 10:09 PM on August 3, 2008

Bennigan's used to make a great one, but that's if you can find a franchisee-owned one nearby; the corporate ones just shut down.
posted by disillusioned at 10:12 PM on August 3, 2008

You can get one at most non-chain diners. If you don't find any close by, you could make your own.
posted by special-k at 11:52 PM on August 3, 2008

Be careful! If you don't do your research first, you may get saddled with a cheap imitation, in which only the bread is battered and fried--or worse, grilled. Bennigan's was the real thing, but ... well, I'm shocked to hear about the shutdown, and I don't know if the location Google tells me was in Santa Clara survived. (Though I suppose you could give them a ring and see if you get the tones of death.)

Bennigan's was kind of my boyfriend's and my place on the road, purely because of the Monte Cristo (romantic, I know) and it's sad to think that most of them are gone.
posted by darksasami at 11:59 PM on August 3, 2008

I've also been strangely sad about the demise of Bennigan's. I associate it with eating Monte Cristos and potato skins at the Stuart St. location in Boston during college, happy memories all. Never imagined thinking about a sandwich could make me so nostalgic. Also never thought my youth could be boiled down to a fried sandwich.

A few more recipes if you want to make your own: a la Epicurious and a la Martha Stewart.
posted by mostlymartha at 12:23 AM on August 4, 2008

I can confirm that some places only pan-fry the bread. Also if I remember correctly, Bennigan's had Boysenberry jam that you could spread on the sandwich as you ate it. That was delicious. I just wish I had someone like darksasami to eat one with because it was the kind of food that a little was delicious but the whole lot was just too much food.
posted by mmascolino at 6:08 AM on August 4, 2008

Socorro, New Mexico is a long way from the East Bay, but the El Camino, despite looking like a dive, makes the best Monte Christo on the planet. When I moved away and realized I couldn't find its equal, a friend of mine gave me the best gift: a dissection of their sandwich so I could make it at home. Enjoy!
posted by ewagoner at 8:02 AM on August 4, 2008

As I recall Vasiliki's in Hayward does the bread-fried-only variety but there's a place in San Leandro that is open 24 hours a day 6 days a week that has one. It's Nick's Family Restaurant. They serve it with jam and dusted with powdered sugar.
posted by ericales at 11:33 PM on August 4, 2008

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