Cafe Monte Carlo- Cape Canaveral- 3.75-Stars
"Don't judge a book by its cover" -- G, Elliot
In pursuing my goal of reviewing every eating establishment on the Space Coast, I have learned a lot about our lovely state of Florida. For example, not knowing how to drive and/or park is not limited to out of state plates, Publix stores anchor a multitude of strip malls, and Florida is chock-full of dingy, seemingly run down and forgotten by the tides of time, strip malls. These little guys are hanging on for dear life all up and down the coastal roadways. Sometimes, they hide a pearl worthy of dive by an Ama (Japanese pearl divers) and while I didn't know it at the time, that was going to be the case here.
The new paint job the building was boasting could not hide the fact that it was at least 20 years old and in dire need of modernization. Looking around as I entered and approached the counter I couldn't help but notice the inside wasn't all that much better. While it was clean and orderly, it also was begging to enter the 21st Century. Apprehensions based on looks set aside I boldly placed an order with our Server, Andrew, for a Croque sandwich on a croissant, biscuits and gravy, one Monte's grilled 3 cheese on white bread and a cup of their Cuban espresso.
The thing I love about an open kitchen such as the one you will find inside Cafe Monte Carlo is that well, it's an open kitchen. If it's dirty, dingy, and greasy I have found that often so is the slop slung forth, This kitchen sparkled with cleanliness and care. Watching the cook grill our sandwiches made me think that they might not be so bad after all. Andrew soon returned with our food and it was time to go to work!
The Croque sandwich can come in a few different ways and I ordered mine with ham on the aforementioned grilled croissant. The ham was not fake processed meat stuff, but the real honest to Jimmy Dean deal. It was sliced deli thin, piled high on a bakery fresh croissant and then topped with an egg cooked to a perfect medium. The whole thing was then topped with some of the best tasting and most unique bèchamel sauce I have yet had. Made with freshly grated Parmesan cheese and a dab of mustard really made it stand out and brought the sandwich to a completely different level of gastronomical heights.
The biscuits and gravy reminded me of the building I was in by their mere appearance. They did not look very appetizing, but I had a job to do. With one bite I knew I was in the South. These were not your plug and play, frozen, preformed biscuits, no Ma'am! These were the real McCoy handmade biscuits fresh out of the oven and they were delicious. Slathered atop these icons of biscuits was some of the best sausage gravy I have yet had. The sausage was fresh, complex in taste and cooked correctly, while the gravy was obviously made by my great grandmother as there is no other explanation as to how incredibly flavorful it was (please return her, she is missed!).
Next up on my to-do list was the Monte's grilled 3 cheese on white. With a gooey interior of a melted mass of Swiss, Cheddar and Provolone cheese the sandwich would have been gold as is, however, add to that bacon and a vine fresh tomato onion chutney and you have sandwich platinum, baby! Oh, sorry, I got caught up on the inside with ya know bacon, the freshly baked white bread was grilled to a perfect crunchy hue and added a nice base for the baco...I mean grilled 3 cheese.
With a menu boasting 11 types of java, it would seem that they are attempting to put the coffee back in cafè and they do an excellent job at that. My Cuban espresso was not only aesthetically pleasing but done properly with the correct amount of boldness one expects from Cuban coffee. It was a perfect ending to a rather enjoyable and surprisingly delicious meal.
The Big Boy says, "For a unique and tasty take on a grilled cheese, an excellent cup of Joe and more, overlook the outside setting and hit this place up!" #iamthebigboy #bigboydiningout