Sunday, February 10, 2008

Ti Couz, San Francisco

Ti Couz
Sweet and savory authentic French crêpes

We first ran across Ti Couz, at 16th and Valencia, when we were going to the Roxie Theater just across the street. There are actually a lot of good places to eat around that intersection--next to Ti Couz is a great tapas place, catty-corner is a New York pizza joint that Mark raved about, Mariachi's Taqueria is right down Valencia, and the falafel place next to the Roxie was good too.

Crêpes are not hard to find around here, but finding good crêpes, and ones that aren't just dessert, is a little more tricky. Ti Couz advertises authentic crêpes from Bretagne, and they deliver as promised.

The interior feels very rustic: untreated wood, some white paint and blue trim. It almost feels like a North African French restaurant, something from Tunisia or Algeria perhaps. I don't think we've ever been there when we didn't have to sign up on their self-service waiting board, but the tables turn over pretty quickly during the lunch and dinner rush, so it's usually not too bad. The service can be slow, especially during lunch when it's busy, but the waitstaff are very nice (unlike the French cafe where we did actually have a snooty server!).

This luncheon, we had their salade verte to start, with different fixings. Mark opted for the Parmesan and roasted pecan toppings, while I had mine plain. Both were good; the Parmesan was thick and sharp, so you could really taste it, and the dressing for the salad was good too.

We split a pair of savory crêpes, a mushroom and ratatouille (called "La Jardiniere," the Gardener), and the mushroom, gruyere cheese, and almond. The cheese was great, very sharp and tasty, and the mushrooms (and the mushroom sauce that both crêpes came with) were a great filling. I like the crêpe as a wrap; it feels like a more delicate, tasty tortilla (the corn tortillas I know have a great flavor; these are more eggy). There could've been more ratatouille in La Jardiniere, because what was there was being overwhelmed by mushrooms, but what I could taste was nice and stewy.

We didn't get dessert this time, but have in the past. I actually like the savory crêpes better than the sweet, though their dessert fillings are wonderful. I'm not sure what it is about the sweet crêpes--maybe they're a little too sweet, or maybe it's just that there are other places to get good dessert crêpes.

The little place is crowded, so there's a lot of edging past people. I can see where that would put some people off, but I like the crowded, busy feel--it reminds me of an actual Parisian place. Ti Couz has that European ambiance (our waitress was actually French, or at least a francophone speaker), and the crêpes are delicious, so it's well worth going out of your way for.

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