Thursday, April 8, 2010

Nanou Nanou

Tucked away on Robert St. is a portal into Paris. Crepe Nanou has been serving the fare of the Parisian Bistro for two decades, and while not everything you eat will have you wanting to reread Hemingway's A Moveable Feast, much of it is very good.

Pastis, here Pernod, is a strong opening to any meal. Pour into the glass a few drops of ice cold water and watch the liquor become a cloud of sunshine. The French drink pastis to revive themselves after a long day in the sun. If you like it though, you need no excuses.

The menu tows the line with a limited collection of starters with nothing extraneous: a few light salads, one or two soups, pâté and cheese plates. The pâté plate had some stunning examples of the craft of charcuterie, but the hardened, greasy saucisson and bland olives need to be replaced. For a restaurant a baguette's throw away from St. James Cheese Co., they can do better than this.

Lindsay ordered a butternut squash soup with shrimp. Often times a restaurant's butternut squash soup is a Robo Coupe, whipped concoction that seems more fitting to be served at dessert. Not at Nanou, which features a light shrimp stock holding chunks of butternut squash and nice, firm shrimp.

Chances are you come here for the crepes, but save that for the final course. Instead direct your attention to the sweetbreads entree where golf ball sized morsels of tender, rich glands marry particularly well with a caper beurre blanc. A tart, crisp salad of julienned vegetables tossed in a mild dressing provides palate cleaning contrast. The dish also comes with brabant potatoes. The menu uses that term quite liberally, and the dish would be better with a more conservative version of those spuds. Alex Chilton's favorite roast chicken is not the best example of that dish, but bearnaise can do wonders to an overcooked bird.

The desserts section of the menu is where crepes can show their strength. The Crepe Marrons brings forth a heaping spoonful of chestnut cream and a scoop of coffee ice cream on top of a crepe doused in flaming rum. It sends spoons into a feeding frenzy. The burning question, though, is why Nutella is absent from the choice of fillings.

Service at Crepe Nanou bears more than a passing resemblance to the relaxed attention present in Parisian bistros. Rather than fuss over you, the service staff is content to let you enjoy your meal in peace and quiet. A nice selection of European beers and wines round out what will be at worse a pleasant evening out. At its best though, Crepe Nanou is a vacation.

Crepe Nanou - Par for food, Birdie for ambiance, Par overall.

1 comment:

Iva said...

I'm so hungry now!! LOL