Evanston’s Creperie Saint Germain serves up the classics
BY THOMAS WITOM Dining December 20, 2012 10:40AM
Galette Forestiere at Creperie Saint-Germain, 1512 Sherman in Evanston. | Rich Hein~Sun-Times
1512 Sherman Ave., Evanston
Prices: Appetizers, $4-$12; entree galettes, $9-$13; dessert crepes, $5-$7.
Hours: 11:30 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday-Saturday; 10:30 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday.
Try: Onion tart appetizer. Canard Confit and Forestiere entree crepes. Chocolate Marquis and Normande dessert crepes.
Tips: Sunday brunch. Beer, wine and selection of hard ciders. Seasonal outdoor seating in front of restaurant. Street parking. No reservations. Free Wi-Fi.
In a bite: Creperie Saint Germain in early 2012 joined Evanston’s diverse lineup of restaurants, and it’s a welcome addition to the dining scene.
KEY: ★★★★ Extraordinary; ★★★ Excellent;
★★ Very Good; ★ Good;
Zero stars: Poor
Updated: December 26, 2012 7:41AM
Though crepes form a culinary backbone in Brittany, by no means does the French region have an exclusive claim on these versatile savory and sweet pancakes.
A case in point is Creperie Saint Germain in Evanston, which has elevated this fare to an art form since its opening early in the year. Fans of crepes regularly beat a path to the cozy 40-seat storefront establishment owned by Pascal Berthoumieux (who also operates another respected local restaurant, Bistro Bordeaux).
At the casual, affordable Creperie Saint Germain, Executive Chef Rene Lorenzano serves a broad selection of the classics.
First courses include homemade soup, mussels and assorted artisanal cheeses. French onion soup is always available, but also consider the daily soup selections which vary from frothy fresh pea to sweet ginger-carrot.
Made-in-house puff pastry makes all the difference in tarte aux oignons, a tasty starter co-starring brie and caramelized onions and a petite salad. It’s not a huge portion, but large enough for two to share.
Three interesting salad selections — beef, fennel and caramelized pear and Lyonnaise (mixed greens, bacon lardon and poached egg) — are available. But keep in mind that main-course crepes are substantial and come plated with a smattering of greens.
Canard Confit, a personal favorite, showcased moist slow-cooked duck, braised cabbage and fines herbes in a port wine sauce — the whole business housed in a deftly folded buckwheat galette. Sensational eating, and, at $12, sensibly priced.
Meanwhile, one bite of my dining partner’s Galette Forestiere entree verified that this, too, was a fine interpretation of the traditional dish: a harmonious medley of herb-roasted farm-raised Amish chicken, mushrooms, dill bechamel sauce and fresh goat cheese.
Other main-course possibilities offered something for a broad range of appetites: Crepes paired with diver scallops (Coquilles Saint Jacques), French ham and aged gruyere (Puriste), stewed mixed vegetables (Ratatouille) and grilled salmon.
Skipping dessert could be a cardinal sin, especially with such luxurious options as the Marquis, a bittersweet chocolate crepe packaged with a light chocolate mousse and plated with chocolate sauce and a mix of fresh strawberries and blackberries.
Or just say “oui” to another inviting choice also endorsed by our attentive server: the Normande, a whole-wheat crepe with caramelized apples, chantilly whipped cream, candied walnuts and caramel sauce. Go over the top, if you like, and have the kitchen add a scoop of premium ice cream to your order.
A couple other strong contenders on the dessert menu included strawberry and Nutella crepes as well as another standard, Crepes Suzette with caramelized citrus sugar flambeed with Grand Marnier. And it’s hard to beat a pot of Julius Meinl French-press coffee as a perfect way to cap a memorable meal.
Creperie Saint Germain offers diners a variety of moderately priced mostly French wines by the glass or bottle, European beers and eight different domestic and imported hard ciders.
Recorded French music plays in the background music, the restaurant’s walls provide exhibition space for award-winning fine art photography.
Thomas Witom is a local free-lance writer.