Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Review: Beau Monde

Beau Monde has been at the corner of Sixth and Bainbridge Streets for so long now, it has become an institution. This review was prompted by a recent visit, which was just one of the dozens we've taken to this creperie over the years.

And not too much has changed since the first time we were there – the crêpes, still light, vaguely crisp around the edges, made-to-order and filled with an array of savory items; the waiters, as skinny and tattooed as ever; the surroundings, still all pressed-tin and rustic: the cream for your coffee is still poured from the mouth of a porcelain cow. The beauty of the menu is twofold: one, the same items work anywhere on the spectrum from breakfast to dinner. Two, since each filling or condiment has a "base" and "as an addition" price, amateur mathematicians can spend hours trying to figure out a way to "game the system" (i.e., if I order a ham crêpe with leeks, will it cost less than a leek crêpe with ham? Sadly, we have yet to find a hole in the Breton algebra that governs the prices on the menu).

I put away the sliderule and ordered a crêpe filled with shrimp and andouille. Per usual, everything was "just right". The crêpes themselves are consistently delightful, and French though I may not be, there is no doubt in my mind that they earn the little hat on their "ê"s. The filling featured properly cooked shrimp, a nice creamy sauce, slight spiciness from the sausage. Nothing that will put you over the moon, but not much to find fault with.

Well, one thing, maybe. Delicious though they may be, the crêpes may leave you a little hungry for more. By the time you build up a decent combination of fillings, you're heading into the $15 range, but when you walk out, you may find a spare rumble or two left in your stomach. I suppose it would be thoroughly déclassé (not to mention expensive) to order a stack of two or three crêpes. You could always get a salad to start off with, or save room for dessert.

Which brings me to the taste I had of the honey and lemon crêpe my sister ordered. Absolutely delicious. The crêpe itself, made with wheat flour (unlike the buckwheat savory models), was the perfect medium for the soothing honey and lemon on top. Next time I'm not skipping dessert.

My only other minor quibble is the lack of wines by the glass – only two whites and two reds, if I recall correctly. It was a shame to enjoy such a fine crêpe with a relatively tasteless (though ample) glass of beaujolais just because I didn't have any better choices.

Despite the pitfalls, I heartily endorse Beau Monde as a part of your regular restaurant rotation. I can think of few finer places to enjoy scallops for breakfast or eggs for dinner.

Beau Monde on Urbanspoon

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