Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Ocean City, NJ Restaurant Review: MA France CPEPERIE


MA France CREPERIE "The Little French Cafe"
506 Ninth St. Ocean City, NJ 609-399-9955


This is about the third season that MA France CREPERIE (restaurant) has been in Ocean City, NJ - just a few blocks from the Scarborough Inn B&B and a convenient choice for our guests. Upon opening, It caused a sensation with vacationers, I think, because it was unique - French food and a continental vibe. The cafe was recently featured in Philadelphia Magazine, so I decided to re-visit and see for myself.

Ambiance - The cafe is tucked into a small storefront on Ninth Street in a location that includes several ethnic restaurants, as well as eateries that serve more traditional foods. The area is probably the closest Ocean City, NJ comes to a "Restaurant Row." The creperie's atmosphere is definitely European with banquette seating in the front window, small individual tables and chairs throughout, and a rear area with a comfy sofa and armchair grouped around a cocktail table. Original art, plus an eclectic mix of decorative items, covers the goldenrod-colored walls and Provencal fabrics cover the tabletops. The kitchen is open to view in the rear of the cafe.

Service - Our server was bright (as in very cheery), efficient, and accommodating to our request to share an entree and a dessert. I ordered an ice tea while waiting for Gus to walk over from the Scarborough Inn.

Food - The menu is limited - basically quiche, crepes, salad, a few pastries, and beverages. Each selection, however, is offered in a wide variety of ways. For example, the namesake crepes may be served as an entree with a number of different fillings as Galette or buckwheat crepes. There are breakfast-style offerings, vegetarian fillings, seafood or meat stuffed crepes. And, of course, dessert crepes. Beverage options include French Press coffees which are fun, but you may need instruction if you have never used a French Press.

We selected "La Campagnarde" - a buckwheat crepe filled with potatoes sauteed with garlic, plus Swiss cheese, and bacon. "Would you like sour cream with that?" the server inquired. We agreed, but later learned that sour cream cost $1.00 extra. The combination of mild cheese and potato with salty bacon crumbles is pleasing and it arrived warm and expertly folded into its galette. However, the potatoes were undercooked - not raw, but...

For dessert we choose a sweet (white flour) crepe filled with Nutella, fresh strawberries and banana slices, garnished with a swirl of whipped cream. It was delicious and we ate every bite. If you haven't tried Nutella, it is a smooth and creamy spread made of hazelnuts and dark chocolate. It is a flavor often found in European chocolates and the nutty-chocolaty taste marries well with the fruit - or just about anything else!

Sharing the galette and the dessert crepe was certainly sufficient for two people and we enjoyed the cafe atmosphere - a mini-getaway to the flavors and ambiance of France!

Price - The price for two people for (sharing) lunch hovered near $30.00. The sour cream was extra - a fact that was not mentioned (to be fair that information was on the menu), and a refill on the ice tea would be extra as well. We skipped the refill.

Details - Parking on street or city lot (Scarborough Inn guests have an advantage because it is an easy walk from the inn), Handicapped accessible - no steps, Children welcome - but no menu or highchairs in sight, Credit Cards accepted.

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