The Creperie, Downtown Edmonton.
From the website verbatim, typos and all:
The Creperie is a unique affordable French Style Restaurant. Voted “Most Romantic Restaurant”, the Creperie’s atmosphere is cozy and warm with its small intimate rooms and flickering candlelighT.
The Creperie is a perfect destination for all your “celebrations of life” whether it be just for 2 or 20 and more.
Enter 4 Highly esteemed University faculty members of discerning academic and culinary opinion, 2 Professorial candidates, and 1 mild-mannered American PhD student.
Rule #1 of blogging: Know your audience. Company shall remain nameless, save for an honorable mention below. On to the review. Sorry for the lack of pictures: an obvious failed attempt in discreet snobbery.
The ambiance of The Creperie, designed with the intent on achieving the self-proclaimed title of Edmonton’s Most Romantic Restaurant, falls short of wooing it’s clientele. The experience would likely be different for an actual couple dining out, but the illusion of intimacy is unfortunately mistaken for cramped spaces. Yet, I hardly think dining in a closet qualifies as romantic, but oddly reminiscent of teen trashy romance novels in the 90′s. Customer service note: Don’t cram 7 adults into a booth when the remainder of the restaurant is completely empty.
However, what The Creperie lacked in environment, (read: space) it made up for in the culinary aspect. A surprisingly limited wine list (for a romantic french style restaurant) forced our resident sommelier/teen-heart-throb/mad scientist Dr. Michael Kennedy to make quick work in selecting a fine ‘middling’ wine for the evening; an Argentinian Malbec that was tasty, yet not impressionable enough for any of us to remember the label.
My first entrée selection was Escargots a la Chef ($12.5), narrowly edging out the steak Tartare (although after having such stellar Tartare at Accent, (see review), I knew I was setting myself up for disappointment. The Escargots were nicely done, set in the traditional 6-shooter terrine, and prepared with garlic, onions, spinach, cream, on mushroom caps baked with hollandaise. Accompanied by French Bread with herb butter, it was a nice lead-in to the Main Course. Of course I much prefer Escargots de Bourgogne- Burgundy Snails, (A specialty I discovered at Tapenade in La Jolla, CA).
My main entrée was the Breast of Duck ($29) cooked medium, with reduced pomme granite-blackberry juice compote, with rice and steamed vegetables. The meat was cooked nicely, I would prefer it to be cooked slightly more rare, but was too hungry to send it back. Loved the strong fruit of the compote, and the salty-crispy skin of the duck made it a delightful meal.
Around the table, my compatriots had probably ordered equally enjoyable food, as the conversation tends to die down when the food is exceptional, in my experience. (One fellow diner was thoroughly enjoying her Virgin California Salad.) I was too consumed with my own culinary descent to notice. Of note was their gluten-free menu which Docteur Kennedy took full advantage of, ordering a Creep Jambalaya that clearly did not disappoint. (no, not a typo).
Third and final course was the Crepe Caribbean ($7.5), holding dark-rum soaked bananas topped with chocolate sauce, fresh whipped heavy cream, and toasted coconut. A fitting end to the meal.
While I applaud the execution of the food, service and environment left much to be desired. If I were to judge a restaurant by food alone, this would receive an A. However, the apparent lack of serving experience, haphazard waitstaff, and mis-timed serving (tip: serve everyone at the table at once, even if it takes a bus-boy or two. Making hungry people wait for others to get their food makes for an uncomfortable situation). One could argue that I’m nit picking here, but good French restaurants take pride in their cuisine, and the back manager should trickle down this lesson for future parties.
Overall grade: B-
111, 10220 103rd Street NW
Edmonton, AB T5J OY8
PS: If you’re looking for a nice crepe, quick and friendly customer service, go see Gill at Crepe Symphony on 101A. Ask for the Chicken-Mushroom Crepe ($7). Literally steps from the Central LRT station. Don’t worry, full review soon.