Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Lunch @ Galette 88

Today we again ventured away from work for lunch, because there was a large influx of visitors in the office.  We headed to another place that has been on my list of places that I've wanted to check out, but due to the fact that it is only open Monday - Friday, 11am - 3pm, have never been.

We went to Galette 88, a fairly new cafe, serving crêpes and only crêpes.  Located near Union Square, but down at the end of an alley, there is no way you'd randomly just stumble into this place.

The savory crêpes are "galettes" (hence the name of the place), served open-faced with a little salad.  The batter is buckwheat based, and contains only buckwheat flour, water, sea salt.  The menu is drool-worthy and has tons of options, with most of the crêpes containing at least one of cheese, flavored cream fraiche, or caramelized onions.  YUM!  There are also some lighter options, including a few vegan ones, using cashew cream and a slew of fresh veggies, or a Mediterranean one with a tomato base.  Or a really interesting sounding one with blue cheese, honey, roasted apples, and toasted almonds, which sounds like it bridges the divide between the savory and sweet offerings.

The sweet crêpes use a batter of eggs, milk, wheat, and sugar and come with all of the standard options: chocolate, banana & nutella, etc and a delicious sounding salted caramel.  We didn't get any sweet crêpes today as we had cupcakes and cookies waiting for us back in the office, but I'd definitely love to try them out next time.

They serve up a variety of beverages to pair along with your crêpe, from ice tea to aqua fresca to wine and champagne to Four Barrel coffee.

The format is completely casual: order at a counter, take your number back to your table, get your own silverware/napkins/mason jar full of water/etc, and your crêpe will be brought to you shortly.  We arrived around 1pm and there was no wait to order, plenty of space to sit, and our crêpes arrived within just a few minutes.

These were my first crêpes (other than ones some friends made) since Ti Couz closed last year!  I used to absolutely love the mushroom, caramelized onion, and cheese crêpe at Ti Couz though ... mmmm.  That mushroom sauce was addicting.

Anyway, the crêpes were good, but not particularly memorable.  I wasn't too big of a fan of the format of the crêpes - the outer edges didn't really have much/any filling and were basically just a double layer of crêpe batter.  Had they actually been filled it would have been fine, but I'd have preferred them not to be open faced at all for better crêpe to filling distribution.

I'd still go back and try a few more combinations, or try the sweet ones, particularly if they were open for brunch on weekends, but I certainly wouldn't go out of my way to go.  I know there are lots of other places in the city serving crêpes that I could check out if I was craving crêpes ... any recommendations?

The Other Mushroom: sautéed mushrooms, parmesan cheese, parmesan crème fraiche, caramelized onions, truffle oil.  $9.50 [add grilled chicken: $2]
This was the one I was most excited about, hoping it would be like my old favorite from Ti Couz.  And to be honest, it sounded even better, including parmesan crème fraiche and truffle oil!  It was my second favorite of the four I tried today.

It was loaded up with assorted mushrooms, that had a nice woodsy flavor to them.  The caramelized onions were delicious and combined perfectly with the mushrooms, but there weren't nearly enough of them. The crème fraiche added a good creamyness.  But the cheese was really lacking, I guess because there was just some parmesan, not a base of swiss style cheese. I really didn't like the grilled chicken, it didn't have a very good flavor on its own and it really overpowered the mushrooms.  And of course, this didn't have the amazing mushroom sauce from Ti Couz, which was what I really loved about their mushroom, onion, and cheese crepe.  Oh well, still on the lookout for a new version of that!

I'd perhaps get this again, but definitely not get the chicken, and explicitly ask for more of the onions.  Although, more likely, I'd get the "La Basique", the simple basic version of emmentaler cheese and caramelized onions ($7) and add in the sautéed mushrooms for an additional $1.
The Lumberjack: taleggio cheese, caramelized onions, potatoes, crème fraîche, ham.  $10.
My third favorite.  This one had some fun flavors and textures going on.  The ham was in small chunks and had a nice smokeyness to it, and also added a good salt level.  The potatoes were lightly crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.  A lot of brunches include some form of potato on the side, and these totally reminded me of that, just all built into the main dish.  They were pretty tasty, although not something I'd think of having in a crepe.  The caramelized onions were again delicious, and went really well with the potatoes.  And some crème fraîche too?  Sure!
Bruce’s choice : smoked salmon, caramelized onions, avocado, capers, lemon-chive crème fraiche.  $9.50.
Bruce's choice?  Also known as Julie's choice!  This was the winner of the day for me.

This was very simple and by far the lightest of the four I tried, as it had no cheese.  The smoked salmon had a great smokey flavor and seemed to be pretty high quality.  It combined beautifully with the capers and lemon-chive crème fraiche.  As much as I love caramelized onions, they didn't really seem to go with this very well.  The avocado was a little disappointing, just a few little slices on top.  Like I said, simple, and exactly what you'd expect, but good.
The Complete: emmentaler cheese, ham, soft-cooked egg.  $8
After having the Lumberjack, this one just seemed boring.  They did use different cheese, and this one had bigger slices of ham, but the potatoes and onions and crème fraîche were just so much more interesting than an egg.  I know this is a classic, but it was boring!
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