Thursday, April 16, 2009

Creperie Beau Monde : Philadelphia

Ever since reading Philadining's review of this place, I've been wanting to try Creperie Beau Monde and to a certain degree, that anticipation was not for naught.

Creperie Beaumonde has a bright, sunny layout.  I can't say that I quite enjoyed or understood the aesthetic, it reminding me a little of the mishmosh of things at L2.  But perhaps they are doing something right, since the place attracted a pretty diverse set of customers and was pretty bustling that morning.

Creperie Beau Monde has a flexible menu, where they give you a price for a main ingredient and you add marginal amounts for each additional ingredient.  Of course, they also have recommended combinations as well, but in both cases, the prices were pretty high, some crepes peaking at $15-$20. And for this price let's just say that I'm expecting my crepes to be damn good.  

I should note also that the menu describes their crepes a bit: 
"As in the Northwest region of France called Brittany, we have two kinds of crêpes, ble noire, which is buckwheat flour for savory crêpes and froment, which is wheat flour for sweet crêpes. Our crêpes are cooked on imported iron griddles called biligs by using the rozell, a wooden crêpe spreader and the spanell, a sharp wooden spatula. We fill our crêpes with your choice of ingredients and fold them into squares."
Gilled chicken, grilled vegetables & salsa verde
This was more filling than my gf and I expected, there being fairly generous pieces of chicken together with all of sauce/olive oil.  The flavor was most dominated by the olive oil that the vegetables were cooked in (reminding us of ratatouille) and the salsa verde, which was a pesto sauce.  (I don't quite understand why they call it salsa verde - isn't that a Spanish term?)  All in all, it was pretty tasty, in particular the crepe itself, which had a wheatier taste than any crepe than we've had before.   But keeping in mind the price, we were leaning towards the "not worth the price" camp.

Ham, Swiss and Egg
I like to see how crepe places do their ham & cheese crepes.  Fair or not, in my mind it's a baseline for whether a place can do the basics really well or not.  This version was a little bit surprising; generally, a ham and cheese crepe focuses on the ham and cheese flavors and the crepe itself is there mostly for texture and a structure with which to eat the insides.  Here, however, the ham and swiss (and egg) were secondary to the crepe flavor. And with their high-quality and unique crepes, they can get away with this, but again, after finishing this, I just didn't think this was worth the money.  

Side of Roasted Red Bliss Potatoes with Shallots & Onions
Surprisingly light.  How do chefs cook potatoes like this?  Flavorwise, the potatoes were somewhat forgettable, but man I would love to be able to cooke potatoes like these.

Freshly Squeezed Lemon & Brown-Sugar Crepe
There's a psychology term called the peak-end rule, in which one's memory of an experience is colored by the the highlight of the experience (peak) and how the experience ends.  The only reason I mention this is that this dessert crepe was an absolutely lovely way to end the meal.   Wheras my impression of the savory crepes were shaped by their price (they were good by not worth the price), this dessert crepe was just satisfying in all aspects.  It was just a nice balance of everything, the lemon tartness balanced with the brown sugar and confectionary sugar all upon the base of the buckwheat crepe.  

All in all, I'm not sure I would come here for another meal of savory crepes unless it was subsidized, but I would consider stopping by for one of their sweet crepes. Yum!

Creperie Beau Monde
Northwest corner of 6th & Bainbridge St Philadelphia PA

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