Monday, November 14, 2011

Off the Map: Is This Supposed to be the Moulin Rouge?

Crepes -- Creperie Beau Monde, Philadelphia, PA
Creperie Beau Monde

By some miracle, neither of us had ever been to Creperie Beau Monde, despite our respective years of Philadelphia living.  Both of us had heard of the place, but before now, we had not made an effort to get here.

And now, we're not sure we'd make an effort to go back.
The Place to Go If You Like Your Meal Gift-Wrapped
After our gourmet dining at Whole Foods experience, we venture a few blocks east to Creperie Beau Monde for Alton Brown's two favorite Best Thing I Ever Ate UNDER WRAPS crepes, the mushroom, swiss cheese, and toasted almond crepe (from the Savory side of the menu) and the pears, chestnut cream, and chocolate crepe (from the Sweet side).
Despite Their Appearance, The Crepes Were Not Actually Served on Plastic Plates
Neither of us have much of an opinion on crepes, which is more than we can say for our thoughts about the rest of the restaurant.  First of all, the place is loud.  It is loud in the way that Barbuto is loud: without reason.  It is not like they're pumping music through the speakers a la Ms. Tootsie's; no, Creperie Beau Monde's single dining room is deafening with chatter, a complete debacle in acoustical design.  Adding insult to injury, we are seated in the back corner by the kitchen, despite other empty tables throughout the restaurant, and the clatter of the busboys breaking glasses (seriously) only compounds the noise factor.
Also, the Dark Lighting Is Not Conducive to Picture-Taking
Proving that we have become elderly before our 30th birthdays, we then latch into complaining to each other about the waitresses' attire.  It seems that Creperie Beau Monde's dress code is "black, short, tight, undergarment-revealing," no matter what one's age or body type.  The whole thing is a bit of a horror show, and it leads us to wonder if someone has tried to install the Moulin Rouge in the back alleys of Philadelphia.

Thankfully, our crepes arrive promptly, and Ginger tries to wash down them, the bread, and her Parc cocktails with her newfound BFF, green tea, while Vodka sticks with a glass of chardonnay.  Ginger is in the mood for dessert, and Vodka is not, so we split up the sweet and savory crepes accordingly.  The contents of both crepes, we notice, come spilling out onto the plate the second we cut into them.
We Always Enjoy Eating the Equivalent of Soup with a Fork - How About You?
We do appreciate that Beau Monde piles the inside components on top of the crepe itself so that we can see what we're eating, but this aesthetic gesture doesn't do much for the taste.
So Inside, We Have Pears, Chocolate, Chestnut Sauce, but Sadly, No Whipped Cream
First up, the mushroom, swiss cheese, and toasted almond crepe is, if nothing else, texturally interesting.  The cheese provides goo, the almonds crunch, and the mushrooms... mush?  The overall effect, however, is of eating cream of mushroom soup out of a soft tortilla.
Uniform Square = Impressive Geometry
The pear, chestnut cream, and chocolate crepe is similarly just okay (though Vodka finds the homemade whipped cream nothing short of delectable).
Though The Insides Look Like a Decaying Organ
We believe the problem with both crepes lies in the fact that there is no flavor diversity as we make our way through the plates -- the taste profile is always the same.  In Creperie Beau Monde's defense, if left to our own devices, we would not have chosen the same crepes as Alton Brown, so perhaps if the ingredients were better suited to our particular preferences, we would find the crepes more satisfying and less monotonous (the crepe wrapping itself is indeed very appealing, and we pull it apart, sans ingredients, to eat separately).
We'll Just Take the Carb Portion of This Plate, Thanks
By this point in the evening, we are fairly full and increasingly exhausted, as we have already managed to walk most of the length of Philadelphia and back.  As we try to work up the energy to leave, Vodka confesses, "I can barely sit right now," which causes Ginger to perform an honest-to-goodness spit-take with her water glass.
Needless to Say, the Crepes Did Not Fare Well in This Attempted Drowning
We stumble back onto the Philadelphia streets, content in the fact that even if we spit things on tables, at least our undergarments are not visible.  And we suppose this is why we will never fit in at the Moulin Rouge.

Creperie Beau Monde's Crepes: 3 stars

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