Grazing through Portland: Merry Table Creperie

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Open the door to Chef/owner Jean Claude Vassalle’s the Merry Table Creperie, and step into an intimate country French bistro. It’s easy to be charmed here: Low ceilings, pine floors, and gold brick walls adorned with artsy posters provide a Provencal tone in the cozy bar and seating areas; soft music and French conversations linger in the background. It’s the perfect set for Vassalle’s fare.

True to the name, crepes are the specialty, although other items are available. Although tempted by the French onion soup, a standard on the menu, and the soup du jour, potato and leek, I skipped a first course and set down to deciding which crepe to order.

That’s not an easy task. After see-sawing between salade de crevettes (and open-style crepe with greens, shrimp, tomato, artichoke, bell pepper, asparagus, and house Dijon dressing), saumon (Boursin cheese, smoked salmon, red onion, eggs, capers), cordon bleu (chickent, ham, blue cheese, Bechamel), and poireaux (braised leeks, wild mushrooms, goat cheese), I opted for the latter. (Crepes run $9-13)

My poireaux crepe was elegant in its simplicity and absolutely divine. The accompanying small salad of greens, dressed in the house Dijon vinaigrette, provided the perfect counterpoint. While big eaters might find the servings on the small side, I found it to be the perfect proportion.

My tablemate had the jambon fromage (Black Forest ham, Swiss cheese), and was equally pleased.

And of course we split dessert. Dithering between the Suzette (made with sugar, butter, orange, and Grand Marnier) and the chocolate, I asked our waitress for her advice. “Chocolate,” she replied with decisive finality. One mouthful, and we understood why.

At lunch, sandwiches, paninis, salads, and a daily special (yesterday’s was coq au vin), are available, but not at night. When the weather cooperates, there are outdoor tables on Wharf Street’s cobblestones.

Note: Twice a month, Merry Table hosts French language tables, a wonderful way to learn, practice, or brush up on your conversational skills.

C’est bon!