Scrolling through instagram the other day, I noticed a huge influx in Lobster roll photos. I guess they’re in season right now and all my lucky East Coast sandwich friends are going crazy on them. Not that you can’t get good ones out here, but I can tell you from personal experience that Lobster roll in Boston just goes down differently than one in Orange County. Don’t ask me why, it just does. I was suffering from massive Seafood envy and the box of fish sticks in my freezer was a affront to my principles as a gluttonous hedonist.
Luckily for me, I live very close by the historic main street of Garden Grove, where you can find a seafood restaurant called The Wharf. They recently expanded their outdoor seating to comply with the Covid-19 lockdown orders so you have a chance to breath the fresh air with your meal.
The Wharf Crawfish Croque Madame
Any sandwich enthusiast worth their salt knows the classic French sandwich Croque Monsieur. It was a staple cafe lunch for me the few times I’ve been to France. It’s history in French Cuisine has dated back to the early 20th century and it’s kind of found it’s way across the world. It’s essentially a decadent ham and cheese sandwich where the sliced bread is dipped in egg and grilled, topped with cheese and toasted. The Croque Madame variant is the same sandwich, but with a fried egg on top.
I can’t be sure if The Wharf’s sliced bread is dipped in egg, but I don’t think it is. I appreciate the fact that is it nicely toasted because the sandwich is so rich and saucy that it needed a textural change. The crispy crust of the bread was integral to balancing the sandwich, because of the overpowering creaminess of the ingredients.
The Wharf forgoes the traditional ham in their Croque Madame for crawfish tails. It’s a much richer substitution because crawfish has a more buttery flavor and texture. The combination of Gouda, Gruyere, and Swiss cheeses adds a very subtle nuttiness to the flavors that is mostly offset by cajun spices.
The menu says that the sauce on the Crawfish Croque Madame is a cajun aioli. Flavor and texture wise, it felt more like a bechamel sauce. Whatever it is, it’s super creamy and oh so indulgent. Any cajun spice is nullified by this sauce and by the melted cheese and buttery crawfish. It oozes out the side with melted cheese and just make you sweat with indulgence (Also because I was eating outside in the summer time).
An extra large side
Apparently I didn’t have enough crawfish or cheese with my Croque Madame, so I decided to try The Wharf’s Crawfish Mac N Cheese. With a three cheese blend and toasted bread crumbs, this ultimate comfort food is worth a share with your most indulgent companions. I think I may have taken 2 bites out of it before I was tapped out and asking for a box. What makes this Mac N cheese special is the flavor of the crawfish, which adds some firm texture to the pasta and some adventurous flavors to an otherwise classic dish.
Seafood tends to be more expensive, especially when it comes to shellfish. The price for any sandwich at the Wharf will run you anywhere between $13-$17 with a side of fries. It’s a good price when you consider the portion and nature of the food. The Croque Madame was more than enough for me even without the fries and the Mac N cheese ($14) was just complete overkill. You crawfish fans will enjoy the portion, there’s enough in either dish to satisfy without all the work.
The Wharf Garden Grove
12941 Main St, Garden Grove, CA 92840