DINING: Creperie added to Mass Ave mix

March 28, 2015
Red, white and black are the primary colors at Cropichon et Bidibule, the latest addition to Mass Ave’s culinary lineup. (IBJ photo /Eric Learned)

Crapshoot et Vestibule.

Croupier et Bedouin.

Even before Cropichon et Bidibule (735 Massachusetts Ave., 737-2772) opened, I heard its moniker being playfully mocked. (Don’t bother dusting off your French-English dictionary—the name actually comes from the owners’ nicknames for their kids.)

However the name is mangled, I say vive la difference when it comes to eateries on Mass Ave, especially when a new taste in the area is presented in such a bright, fun way. (OK, so the scale-model Eiffel Tower is a tad tacky.)

Lou HarryThe food, a few weeks after the restaurant’s premiere, showed signs of promise and signs of work to be done. Starting points: five Charcuterie options ($12), including braised Maple Leaf Farms duck; cured ham from Parma, Italy; and a rabbit/cured bacon Pate de Lapin. There’s also an assortment of Formages ($8) that encourage sharing and wine sipping. Bypassing both, I went with a Gruyere-heavy Soupe a l’oignon ($6), offering an excellent appetizer—nearly an entree, actually—with broth as satisfying as the hearty cheese-and-onion bites.

I was new to galettes—essentially buckwheat flour crepes—and was pleased with La Galette Saumon ($11), a smoked-salmon variant. Oh, it didn’t look like much on the plate, but a fork full combining the title fish with crème fraîche and leeks and a piece of the crepe made for a light, pleasant entree. Quiche Lorraine ($10) with house-cured bacon and organic eggs was more compact than is usual, a dense tart that didn’t compel completing.

ae-cropichon-5-15col.jpg La Galette Saumon is an open-faced buckwheat crepe. (IBJ Photo/ Eric Learned)

You’d think the La Crepe au Chocolat ($7), a chewy chocolate ganache crepe, would prove a meal highlight. Instead, it was acceptable but by no means exceptional. Like the galettes, the crepes are available in traditional open-faced style or rolled “street style”—the better for eating as you stroll Mass Ave.

We ended on a high note, with the Tart Bourdalous ($8), a baked pear- and almond-filled tart garnished with additional pear slices and Chantilly cream. Craving an after-show treat? This is enough of a reason to stop in. And, FYI, kids are welcome. Among the usual chicken-strip offerings, a Kids Crepe ($6) is available, which includes fresh fruit.

Addendum: While I usually avoid mentioning isolated server faux pas, I think it’s fair to say that it’s never, ever, ever wise to assume a relationship between the parties at your table. Having a lunch with an unrelated fellow professional end with, “I hope you enjoyed your meal, Mr. and Mrs. ___________” is a grosse erreur.

—Lou Harry

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