In Paris, crepes are street food. They're rolled into cones, laded with sweet or savory ingredients and munched on the go. Chez Philippe Creperie is a new venture of restaurateur Philippe Habassi, who owns Le Petit Paris. Habassi has sought to recreate the feel of a Parisian creperie in a bustling University City arcade. The street vendor concept, however, works better in Les Halles than in the Loop. Because of their seeping, sticky sauces, the crepes must be packaged in unwieldy Styrofoam boxes and eaten with plastic utensils, rather than with your hands. The crepes are thin, airy and prepared fresh to order. However, they are hurriedly assembled, leading to blunders like a raw egg being folded into a spinach and Swiss crepe. In addition, the busy crepe stand frequently runs out of ingredients. Because it's fast food, the fillings are selected for convenience, not quality--for example, Del Monte canned peaches are used in place of fresh ones.
FOOD: Chez Philippe Creperie serves crepes, sandwiches, soups, salads and desserts, including ice cream. Try a traditional crepe made with diced ham, Swiss cheese and egg. Be aware, though, that the egg will be barely cooked (or raw, if they're in a hurry), with a runny yolk, rather than hard boiled as you might expect. Order a plate of long, slender seasoned fries with your lunch. A simple dessert crepe drizzled with chocolate sauce and daubed with real whipped cream is the best choice for tasting a fresh crepe.
SERVICE: Chez Philippe Creperie is a fast-food stand with counter service only. Owner Philippe Habassi often tends the cash register himself, so talk to him if your order isn't to your satisfaction.
AMBIENCE: The creperie is in a cramped, noisy indoor arcade, the grimy tiles of its uneven floor littered with straw wrappers, grains of fried rice and bits of wilted lettuce. Chez Philippe is across the aisle from Bob's Seafood, so you'll smell raw salmo