>> Madame Poupon | Eat the World NYC

15 December 2018

Madame Poupon


It is not all that hard to find an enjoyable crêpe in New York City, the thin pancakes have circled the globe in popularity and have no problem selling themselves. But to find a truly exemplary crêpe? I will leave that to Jean-Christophe Henry.

For a short three years a few years back in the East Village, he was making crêpes in a small room that was connected to the bar connected to the Theatre 80 St. Marks. Regular customers knew him as the eccentric French guy but respected his creations. The bar also drew those from the northwest French province of Bretagne, the place Mr. Henry also grew up and where crêpes come from. Then suddenly in a powdered sugar puff of smoke, it was gone and so was he.

Jean-Christophe back in his happy place.

When I first walked through the door of his new Nostrand Avenue establishment, I had no idea it would be him in the kitchen. Immediately recognizable, I mentioned it was good to see him again and he ran back to make a small portion of his classic sweet crêpe to "prove" it was the same guy from St. Marks Place. That first bite tasted even better than I had remembered.

When I asked him what he had been up to in the last few years, he stated matter-of-factly:

"Being miserable, and looking for a new place."

Thankfully for him and for us, Madame Poupon is now open in Bedstuy, named after the woman in Bretagne who first taught him how to make crêpes. Most people who know a bit about food can place the origin of the dish in Bretagne (Brittany in English), but Jean-Christophe will even tell you about the intricacies of crêpes in the west or east of the region.

Whether you are new to crêpes or an old hand, the place to start is la ham complète ($10, above and below), a buckwheat-wrapped classic filled with ham, cheese, and an egg sunny-side up. It sounds like a perfect breakfast, and would be, but in Bretagne people eat this "poor man's crêpe" anytime of day. On the menu it simply states "Swiss" but this is Emmental, and the ham is something Jean-Christophe is now happy with, saying he could not source one he wanted at the theatre.

We eat meals with ham and cheese all the time, but somehow his crispy wrapper takes everything to another level.

There is a running list of daily specials, all of which sound downright lovely. As he confirms the ones he likes the most, they will be added to the printed menu and available all the time. The restaurant still seems to be in flux and getting better, if that is even possible.

On this visit, one of the daily specials was what he called a goat cheese salad ($14, below), which he picked and sauteed green grapes for and freshly tossed before adding a crêpe that was cut in four and filled with soft goat cheese and brie. Recommended.

As the customers in the restaurant ebb and flow, Jean-Christophe will go from chatty to focused at his specialty crêpe griddles. He has three at his new spot, one of which is only for his homemade batter. The other two serve as staging griddles, where he adds sweet and savory ingredients as necessary and does his folding.

Even though these savory versions are plenty for a full meal, it almost seems unfit to leave without dessert. La beurre sucre ($5, below) is the standard, and something he agreed should be the baseline to anyone's fitness to be making crêpes in the first place. His of course is exquisite, as light as air and full of crisp.

Before being able to roll back out onto the street, another crêpe had begun to be born and promptly was set ablaze. Yes he can do flambée as well. Unseen in this l'antillaise ($9 but on the house this night, below) is a thick spicy banana mash full of rum. His homemade whipped cream and salted caramel were put on top, the whole thing was just as delicious as it sounds.

One important component of eating here is definitely grabbing one of the four or five chairs up near the kitchen so that you can watch him in action and learn about everything. Watching a man's passion is almost as entertaining as the crêpes are delicious.

The same sandwich board from St. Marks Place.

Madame Poupon Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.