New French cafe and creperie Chez Antoine is now open in Highland Park, sandwiched between a bike shop and a vacant storefront.
Edith Piaf's "La Vie En Rose" can be heard above the chatter of Eastside hipsters sitting on the small outdoor patio.
In the restaurant's open kitchen, chef Guillaume Sabbadin (formerly of Cafe Figaro), originally from Toulon, France, spoons ladles of crepe batter onto two round crepe grills, then smooths the liquid into paper-thin sheets. He stuffs the crepes with classic ham and cheese, seafood, chorizo and eggs, chicken and mushroom fillings.
Menu items consist of savory crepes ($10), sweet crepes with Nutella, banana, sugar or orange ($9), sandwiches ($10) and starters such as French onion soup, tuna tartare and escargots ($8 to $12). Almost everything is served on a plate dotted with the restaurant's pale pink Sriracha aioli. Definitely not French, but it adds a mild bite of heat.
Sabbadin is also making classics such as boeuf bourguignon ($18) with red burgundy wine, pearl onions, carrots and served with a homemade tagliatelle pasta; mussels with garlic fries; rib eye with fries; and salmon in a Bearnaise sauce.
For dessert, there's a crepe stuffed with creme brulee filling, a brulee top and candied orange peel; mousse au chocolat; and a plate of profiteroles smothered in Nutella.
There is no liquor license yet, but nonalcoholic French ciders are served in heavy, engraved chateau-worthy glasses and displayed in two metal sculptures that owner and former Parisian Antoine Ronda built himself.
Chez Antoine is open for dinner Tuesday to Friday from 4 to 10 p.m and for breakfast, lunch and dinner Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. They plan to open for lunch service during the week in the near future.
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