Parlez-vous francais? Oh, you don't speak French? What, did you think it was some kind of fry or just a lousy piece of toast? Thank goodness for the culturally aware folks throughout Baltimore such as Ann Costlow. The owner of Sofi's Crepes discovered this native French cuisine while on holiday (that's European for vacation) and brought it stateside for all us foodies to enjoy.
"What the hell is a crepe anyway," you wonder? Well, here at Metromix we're all about simple visual aids. We'll start with something you can relate to -- picture an IHOP pancake. Now imagine said pancake after being stepped on by an elephant. See? It's very wide, now, and also very thin. That, my friend, is a crepe. Sorta.
Kate Moss of the pancake world -- is stuffed with delicious morsels, be them sweet or savory. In fact, that's just how the menu at Sofi's is divided: sweet crepes incorporate all the excess of delectable tooth-rotting treats (mmmm, Nutella) while savory crepes provide something more refined (mmmm, fromage). Since we're anything but refined, we opted for the delicious, sugary, cavity-inducing goodness of Sofi's sweet dessert crepes.
Sofi's Crepes, named lovingly after Costlow's pooch, has found its niche in the Station North arts and entertainment district. Until 2006, Sofi's was a walk-in closet-sized reception area, just big enough to fit a handful of people. They'd stand shoulder-to-shoulder while passersby baited onto the line that often snaked down the block. Now, Sofi's has a hallway-sized seating area and accommodates two handfuls of people.
Somehow Sofi's overcomes the limitations of its layout, and inspires a Parisian feel. Inside the petite café, the walls are decorated with works by local artists. When I visited, a series of black and white photographs featured images of the iconic Eiffel Tower. And on warm days, Sofi's guests can even enjoy al fresco seating.
Another great thing about Sofi's is that cinephiles, fans of the stage and thespians alike can carry these delicacies into films at The Charles and productions at The Everyman Theatre, Sofi's Charles Street neighbors. If you're the type who thinks celebrity endorsements spell success, then browse Costlow's photo album of satisfied customers, and notice the smiling faces of Nicole Kidman, John Waters and Kevin Bacon.
Dish: Though small, Sofi's menu is nothing short of delectable. Start salivating now, lovely reader, but do remember to wipe your chin: baked apple, Nutella, chocolate chips, fruit jams, marshmallows, brown sugar and ... we could go on. The dinner crepes don't look so shabby either, with mozzarella, pepperoni, cilantro, cranberry chutney and turkey among the fillings. We're partial to the apple crisp, Plain Jane and Nutella dessert crepes.
Damage: Pardon the pun, but we can't resist: Costlow really did keep the "cost low" when pricing out her confections, which range from $4-$6 for sweet and $6-$8 for savory, with drinks priced under $3.
Decision: Count every single lucky star hanging over Charm City that Sofi's is here for the revival of Station North. The food is simple, neatly packaged and absolutely delightful, bringing a little creperie to the land of the crab house.
YOU'RE BROKE. EAT HERE.