Finally got over to Chez Machin for lunch/brunch not too long back. I got a bowl of onion soup ($4.25) and the half salad Lyonnaise ($5). My wife got the #9 savory crepe ($8).
The soup was decent, but its emphasis was on the croutons and cheese. It's vegetarian, which I didn't know until afterwards, and it was missing some of the depth I normally associate with this, one of my favorite soups. I think they could have made up for it by caramelizing the onions more. The soup tasted a little "raw" to me and without a range of flavor.
The salad showed some promise but also came up short. I didn't expect the diced tomato to be too good in the middle of the winter, but it wasn't bad. The soft-fried egg wasn't soft at all. No runniness, which was quite disappointing. The bacon wasn't nice chunks of lardons, but just typical litle pieces. The dijon vinaigrette needed more mustard tang. Although without a runny egg there wasn't much in need of balance. Not bad, but I wouldn't order it again.
The buckwheat crepe itself was pretty good, nice texture and flavor, but the insides (ham, brie, avocado, mushrooms, creme fraiche) were totally overwhelmed and underwhelming. Maybe my wife just ordered too much of a kitchen sink crepe, but I couldn't really taste anything but the crepe. And when I had a bite of the filling by itself, I didn't really find the flavor appealing. The ham seemed like cold cut quality.
All of these dishes represent straightforward classics that I make variations of at home all the time. But much better. For this stretch of Hawthorne it was worthwhile eating, but I'd rather go to several other French places based on this one dining experience.
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