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Restaurants & Bars 7

Great New Crêpes Place in Menlo Park

Cyrus J. Farivar | Feb 28, 200407:19 PM

Right across from the CalTrain station on Oak Grove Ave., in the corner commercial area, across from Peninou French Laundry, lays a gem of a crêpes place, aptly named Crêpes Café. This place has only been open about a month, and so my girlfriend, Rachel, and I tried it out this morning. It's run by at least one French woman, and the crêpe-meister is French, the waitstaff, I think are Spanish speaking, but to their credit, they did wish us "bon appetit".

Rachel got their daily special, which was a Strawberry crêpe, and I got a croque madame, a dish that you rarely find outside France -- but can find in French textbooks nearly everywhere. For the uninitiated, it's a croque monsieur (grilled ham and cheese sandwich), plus a fried egg placed on top. You eat it with a knife and fork. One of my favorite French breakfast foods.

The croque madame was very good, warm, with the cheese warmly melting into the ham, and solid wheat bread lightly toasted. The egg was a textbook straight fried egg, but once you cut into it, the runny-ness of the yolk combines well with the bread, egg, and ham. Very light and very tasty. ($6.25)

Rachel's crêpe was presented in a folded-triangle style on a plate and was served with powdered sugar, whipped cream, and strawberries. It was light and tasty, and the cream and strawberries tasted very fresh. ($5.25)

They also served very authentic French breakfasts at a reasonable prince ($2-3), consisting of a baguette with a small thing of jam and butter that you do yourself, but that goes well with a café au lait (or so I've been told, I don't drink coffee). One guy behind us seemed to be enjoying it while reading the newspaper.

It was just the right size, not too big or small, with ample seating inside and outside, and conveniently located near to the train station and Santa Cruz Ave. I was telling Rachel the only thing that would have made it a little more authentic would be that it would have been there for about 20 years, and that they would operate a crêpes stand on the other side of the tracks where they'd go for about $3-4 and be slightly less fancy. That would be awesome, especially considering that I come in and out of that station on the eastside of the tracks every Friday.

A great addition to the neighborhood. We'll definately be going back.

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