This weekend marked the local return of The Grilled Cheese Experience, one of three food trucks planning to meet Seattle eaters' every grilled cheese need. But if the city's sandwich fans aren't clamoring more loudly for the trucks to hurry up and open, it may be because there's already a perfect croque monsieur available at Cafe Presse.
Cafe Presse sells its version of the French classic for $6, which always seems like a great deal until about 90 seconds after the server delivers the sandwich, when there's nothing left of it. It's impossible to eat this fully-cloaked ham sandwich, stoked with creamy bechamel, any way but quickly. It's that good.
The croque monsieur at Cafe Presse hits the right balance of salty and sweet, but it's the cheese that makes it. The Gruyere is evenly applied and then browned in a convection oven, creating pockets of gold across the top of the sandwich and serious crunch at its corners. Served up on a plain white plate, the sandwich looks exactly like the choicest wedge of lasagna, or the slice of pizza you might cut for yourself. When the city's grilled cheese trucks get rolling, their grill masters may very well find that their stiffest competition isn't on wheels.