A Sandwich a Day: Gourmet BLT with Egg and Gruyère at Le Café

A Sandwich a Day

Reviews of Chicago sandwiches.


[Photograph: Sarah Song]

Who doesn't love a BLT? Let's be real: you get to eat bacon and mayonnaise on toast, and the vegetable are co-stars, not after-thoughts. So I was initially concerned about the Gourmet BLT ($8.50) at Lincoln Square's Le Café, because it adds both egg and gruyère. But it's actually eye-rollingly good. White bread toasted to a panini-patterned crunch provides solid support, and freshly chopped romaine ensures equal amounts of crispy green in each bite (no dreaded center rib here!). Mayonnaise is spread from edge to edge, just the way I like. A single slice of juicy tomato reminds you that it's there to join the party, and melted gruyère provides nuttiness, with crispy bits along its edges. The placement of the strips of chewy apple-wood smoked bacon next to the melted cheese prevents bacon slippage.

The fried egg, the jeweled centerpiece, is presented over-easy on top of one sandwich half. I debated with the logistics of putting the egg inside or on top, croque madame-style. I ended up going with the latter, fork-and-knife route, which was a good choice, as I was able to sop up every bit of dripping, unctuous egg yolk, and it allowed for a juxtaposition of textures, tastes, and temperatures—from the hot fried egg to the cool vegetables to the porky bacon and melty cheese. It did make me wish that I had two fried eggs (one for each half), although maybe that's too decadent for public.