By Sharon Gittleman
FERNDALE – Parisians young and old have a yen for crepes, the thin pancakes wrapped around fillings, both savory and sweet. They’re not alone; the crepes served at Josephine Creperie & Bistro have made the eatery one of the most popular restaurants in Ferndale.
Josephine’s menu features over a dozen entree crepes and three more for dessert. Dinner crepes vary from vegetarian favorites to crepes stuffed with beef, chicken and seafood. You might choose the spinach, ricotta and parmesan cheese crepe with a bechamel topping and tomato coulis or the one filled with beef bourguignon, perfect for hearty appetites. Caramelized apples with fresh whipped cream are tucked in one dessert crepe, while another choice features a chocolate hazelnut spread topped with bananas.
Other French classics star on Josephine’s menu, including filet mignon with blue cheese and red wine demi-glace and classic coq au vin half of a roasted chicken braised in red wine, served with mushrooms and pearl onions.
You’ll have a fine setting to study your menu. Modern, unframed portraits line the restaurant’s soft earth-tone walls, with all the paintings set at eye level. They’re not works you’ll be likely to find at your neighborhood pancake house. One sophisticated painting offers viewers a quartet of faceless people, three holding winsome animals and the fourth turned away, a rifle in hand.
The room’s soft lighting is provided by uniquely-shaped fixtures and a big bay window giving you a view of downtown FerndaleÕs hustle and bustle.
The mismatched tables and chairs in the intimate dining room add an extra taste of Europe, while the soft music, candles and dried flowers on your table will help you start to unwind from even the most frazzled day.
My meal started with an amuse bouche a small bite offered in traditional French restaurants to engage your appetite before your meal. Mine was a crispy slice of cucumber topped by a bit of roasted red pepper. Several savory and crusty slices of olive bread came next, with lots of sweet cream butter on the side.
I ordered a wild mushroom crepe for my entree. One generous-sized crispy crepe was stuffed with big chunks of mushrooms and onions, sweetened with a balsamic glaze and a crumble of tart chevre cheese. More mushrooms topped the entre. The flavors blended to create a luxurious, creamy, not-too-sweet, not-too-tart taste. The crispy glazed carrots added a contrasting bite to the rich meal.
The dessert was the highlight of the repast. A swirled mound of cappuccino cream topped a flourless chocolate cake with almonds in a large custard cup. Every bite of the slightly bittersweet cake was packed with bits of crunchy almonds sufficient to satisfy the cravings of the most confirmed chocoholic.
A mochaccino added to the chocolate ecstasy – a chocolate espresso drink topped by a thick layer of foamed milk.
At Josephine, you’ll enjoy delicious French cuisine served in a warm inviting setting, perfect for date night or a special dinner with family and friends. If your outing could benefit from a little discretion, ask for the table by the railing on the second floor, with a birdÕs eye view of the dining room and kitchen below.
Starters range from $7 to $10, soups are $4 to $5 and salads are $7 to $13. Entrees cost $10 to $27 and desserts range from $2.50 to $7. A variety of coffees and homemade wines are available.
Josephine is located at 241 W. Nine Mile, in Ferndale. Hours are 4:30 to 10 p.m. Tues. through Thurs., and 4:30 to 11 p.m. on Fri. and Sat. Sunday brunch is served from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.