Chez Machin Creperie Review – Portland Oregon
Chez Machin. We decided to give it a try for a late lunch. We had traveled around town, tried out the Portland MAX light rail transit system, visited the Portland Saturday Market and were ready to see if Portland would do anything unique with a crepe. Well we were not disappointed.
The restaurant has a few tables on the sidewalk, a window cafe as you walk in and a covered patio in the back. The decor is pleasing once you get past the view of the construction underway next door. We find a table for two next to the front window covered with white and red checkerboard table cloth that bring the Parisian feel to the place. It takes a bit of time to get the attention of the wait staff but once we are noticed the team takes care of business promptly and efficiently throughout the process.
The menu is a classic creperie menu. I am so tempted to have a dessert crepe but we are here for lunch, so we will pick two from the menu and try the coffee that is wafting in the background from other tables. So how do they make the menu have a Portland flair; organic buckwheat flour from Bob’s Red Mill for the savory crepes. Our first choice is “La Bechamel” comprised of Black Forest ham, mushrooms, Emmentaller swiss cheese, scallions, and béchamel sauce. This will be a rich crepe. Our second choice is “La Rurale” comprised of chicken, mozzarella, caramelized onions, roasted red pepper and garlic coulis. We order some coffee and wait to see our requested creations. The coffee was a good choice according to Elaine who savored every drop.
The crepes arrive and the first thing you notice is the dark almost grey blue color of the buckwheat crepe. I am trying to decide if I like the look as I am so used to seeing a golden brown crepe. The Bechamel crepe is nicely plated. We break into the crepe and the swiss cheese aroma is released by steam trapped in the crepe. It is rich but very tasty. The texture and flavor of the buckwheat is noticeably different from a traditional crepe but I can see how it probably holds together better than a traditional crepe. It all works well together although the crepe may have been just a bit heavy on the scallions. The sauce was traditional and rich providing a creamy compliment to the crepe.
The second crepe was La Rurale. The crepe color is much more present with the red pepper and garlic coulis dressing on top of it. Cutting into the crepe, the chicken, cheese and caramelized onions are well mixed and present. Is this the French version of a chicken quesadilla? This crepe is not quite as impressive as the previous one. The combination is a bit dry in texture and flavor. Chicken and mozzarella are not strong on flavor so unless you get a bit with the onions and coulis it is just a bit boring. Somewhat like a chicken quesadilla without peppers or salsa. A marinated chicken and some herbs in this crepe might bring the flavors out. Basil, thyme, and or rosemary could do wonders for this.
We recommend this creperie and bistro should your travels bring you to SE portland anytime of the day. Four stars for the overall experience.