From meatballs, to grilled cheese to hot dogs—single food item-focused restaurants have been hot for a few years now. And now the Croque Monsieur joins the list of niche food items to have restaurants dedicated to exploring their flavor potential. La Maison du Croque Monsieur—a collaboration between Yves Jadot and Alberto Benenati, who together also run Petite Abeille—opened earlier this month just south of Union Square on 13th street to toast up the Parisienne specialty. While it's tempting to call it a grilled cheese sandwich, the croque monsieur's smear of béchamel and toasted—rather than grilled in butter—bread make for a more delicate, less greasy sandwich than its closest American relative.

Purists can mangent the classic Croque with Jambon de Paris, Bechamel and a choice of cheese, including a traditional gruyere, Chimay, an English cheddar and others. From there, chef and partner Jason Hicks explores creative flavor pairings like spicy tuna salad and NY Cheddar ("Mr. Lawrence," $8.75) and bresaola, béchamel, smoked mozzarella and truffle oil ("Mr. Eduardo," $9). There are also breakfast croques, including a croque madame (a classic CM with an egg) named for French-Cuban author Anaïs Nin who lived in the building that now houses the restaurant. Three dessert offerings round out the croque menu, with fillings like goat cheese, orange marmalade, Nutella and other sweet spreadables.

Yelpers have received the newcomer favorably, citing the charming space and tasty sandwiches as reason to return. The space is on the smaller side, with a long counter for standing on the ground floor and some tables nestled into the narrow second floor, but it's cozy and romantic, a nice spot for a warm sandwich on a cold day. The restaurant opens for breakfast at 7:30 a.m. on weekdays and 10 a.m on weekends and closes each night at 9 p.m. No delivery yet and even though a takeout option exists, we recommend dining in to preserve the crispiness of the bread and the perfectly melted béchamel and cheese.

Now that crepes and croque monsieurs are out of the way, could a quiche-only restaurant be far behind?

17 East 13th Street // (212) 675-2227