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December 20, 2008

Crepe Bistro

by gastronomicbypass

Location—186 North Wells Street (Lake and Wells)

In one word—Variety

Food—If you could use a break from typical lunch time fare in the Loop, Crepe Bistro is exactly what “ze docteur” ordered.  Crepe Bistro offers a big list of savory and sweet crepes that are a great deal for dinner and an even better deal for lunch (there’s about a two dollar difference per item between the lunch and dinner menus).

For savory, try the Ratatouille ($8.00 lunch, $10.25 dinner). It’s a plump crepe about the size of a mouse pad, that’s stuffed with thick, garlicy slices of stewed zucchini, bell peppers, tomatoes and onion, plus your choice of ooey-gooey melted cheese (I got mozzarella, on the recommendation of the owner). The veggies are softened but still have a bit of a crunch—as though they’ve been freshly sautéed—and they’re packed with delicious flavors of garlic, tomato and herbs. Bonus: all savory crepes come with a simple side salad of fresh field greens and tomatoes that are dressed up with a zesty sherry vinaigrette.

For sweet, you can’t go wrong splitting the classic Nutella crepe ($6.50)—rich, melted, hazelnutty chocolate that’s folded into a soft, delicate crepe and then crowned with fresh, sweet, homemade whipped cream. Mmmm, get over here you sexy thang! As an alternative, try the surprising Lemon crepe ($6.50), which contains freshly squeezed lemon, powdered sugar, and butter. The sugar, butter, and lemon all melt together and taste like the best lemon bar you’ve ever had. Yum.

Drink—Very affordable wine and beer selection, as well as vodka and cognac. Plus, gourmet coffee options and good ol’ Orangina

Service—The service here is fast and friendly. You can be in and out in an hour—not bad for lunch in the Loop. At the same time, Crepe Bistro is more hospitable than your typical lunch spot. For example, the carafe of ice water with big, bright lemon slices that’s brought to each table is a unique touch.

Scene—The décor here is homey-French and gives Crepe Bistro a charming, casual feel. Eclectic old-school French music (accordion, I believe?) plays in the background. All of this, plus the accents of the owner and some of the waiters, and Crepe Bistro comes across as little piece of Paris right under the El.

Dress—Given its location, during the week you’ll see business to business casual to casual at lunch. Jeans and a dressy top and you’ll fit in without any problems. On the weekends, you can go all-out casual.

Cost—with tax and tip, about $12 for lunch, $15 for dinner (without drinks).

If you like, try…Coffee and Crepe Palace

Read more from French Food, Loop

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