Restaurant Review: Book your $10 French getaway at Creperie St. Germain

Amber Gibson, Columnist

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Alas, the creperie in Norris University Center has been forsaken to make way for Rick Bayless’ Frontera Fresco. What’s a girl to do without $1.25 dessert crepe happy hour?

Never fear: Pascal Berthoumieux swoops in to save the day with Creperie St. Germain, 1512 Sherman Ave. Berthoumieux also owns sister restaurant Bistro Bordeaux, but the creperie is a more casual and affordable alternative to upscale French fare. The chic cafe, decorated with photographs of Paris and a large map of the Paris Metro on the wall closest to the kitchen, is warm and inviting. Owen Wilson’s character from “Midnight in Paris” would love this spot. Word about this creperie has spread; by 7 p.m. each Friday, every table is packed.

The drink list has several affordable wines by the glass, but I’m partial to the hard cider, of which there is an excellent selection. The Clos des Ducs from Brittany, France, is crisp and refreshing without being too sweet.

Our server, Quenton, was the consummate professional, artfully describing specials and his favorite crepes in a perfect French accent. On our way out, we were lucky enough to run into owner Berthoumieux, ever the dapper gentleman, checking on each table with his perfect posture and vibrant pink tie only a Frenchman could pull off.

Savory crepes are all made with organic buckwheat while dessert crepes are made with organic wheat. Both savory and sweet options impressively walk the fine line between thin yet sturdy. On a nippy day, a chunky cream of broccoli soup du jour with melted Gruyere is just what I needed to warm up.

In the coquilles Saint Jacques, sweet corn nage accents perfectly seared diver scallops, but a robust mushroom ragout overwhelms the otherwise balanced combination. Coq au vin, on the other hand, is a most satisfying comfort food. Break through the crepe skin to uncover strips of succulent Amish chicken braised in Burgundy wine nestled between bacon lardons, onions, mushrooms and carrots.

Of the tantalizing dessert crepes, the Marquis is most successful. Bittersweet chocolate crepes are filled with a light and fluffy dark chocolate mousse and topped with fresh mixed berries and raspberry coulis. While the Mediterraneene sounds enchanting, caramelized fresh figs and crepes drowned in cloyingly sweet Madeira sauce cannot be rescued even when filled with pillows of Chantilly cream. All dessert crepes can also be served a la mode, with Haagen-Dazs.

I predict return trips in my near future. What better place to read about Monet, Manet and Degas for Impressionism class than curled up with an edible piece of authentic French modernity?

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