Good cheese doesn’t come cheap, unless you consider generic plastic-wrapped singles a delicacy. However, Raclette (195 Avenue A; 917-853-5377), a recently opened café specializing in all things cheesy, offers a selection of sandwiches made with fancy fromage for under $15.
Raclette serves an array of European-inspired sandwiches like croques (French grilled cheese), tartines (open-faced sammies), and its namesake dish, traditional Swiss raclettes made with Alpine cheese. The Suisse, with Grand Cru cheese and viande séchée (essentially, Swiss bresaola or beef jerky), is set atop tricolored new potatoes with cornichons and pickled white-pearl onions; at $13.78, it’s the priciest option and, like the (meatless) Savoyarde ($11.94), is served with arugula salad and a chunk of baguette.
Save for a few selections, the rest of the menu clocks in under double digits. There’s a tomato tartine ($9.18) with bufala mozzarella, cherry tomatoes, arugula pesto, and basil on toasted focaccia. The Americano ($8.27) incorporates caramelized onion, leek fondue, roasted garlic, and white English cheddar between two slices of toasted pain pauline, a peasant-style white bread. The Saint-Michel ($9.18) layers strawberry, tarragon, and black pepper preserves with bittersweet chocolate and fromage blanc on toasted brioche.
But Raclette’s version of the time-honored croque-monsieur ($9.18) is one of the best around; it’s composed of thinly sliced jambon de Paris, and nutty gruyère cheese on slightly buttery-sweet brioche bread. The whole thing is toasted to perfection, with melted cheese sealed within the crisp exterior of the bread, and creamy mornay sauce (béchamel pumped up with even more cheese) poured over the top. The result is a decadent yet reasonably sized taste of France you can hold in your hand.
Follow Sara Ventiera on Twitter, @saraventiera. Follow @forkintheroadVV.