Ever since I sent a one word email to Stella, "Interested?" and a link to Chez Elle's website, I knew we were going to eat there the first chance we got. Stella loves crepes and we would drive to Liberty if there were a crepe stand there (don't tell me if there is, I don't want to go to Liberty).
Saturday was the day, the kids spent the night at their grandparents' so we could explore the place without distraction. We showed up about 10, got a bitchin' parking spot right in front of the door and got one step in the door. The line at the counter nearly reached the door. Little did I know that this wasn't an indication that Chez Elle was super busy, just that the owner, Ellen, was the slowest cashier ever. We stood in a line about 10 people deep for a solid 20 minutes. We watched as Ellen fumbled with the register, couldn't run a credit card through the swiper and handed change back with 2 hands. It was an atrocious display.
In my mind, a cashier has 2 responsibilities to the customer. Either be quick to get people on their way or be very charming and get to know the customers. She obviously failed the first responsibility as she could barely run the register. But, she failed the second one as well because she could barely run the register. A suggestion I would give would be to give her numbers to push on the display so that when the customer orders by number, she doesn't have to translate it in her head to the name of the crepe so it can be input. Then when the ticket for the kitchen prints out it would have the number of the crepe on it instead of her having to write it on each ticket. Even this wouldn't be that big of a problem if she didn't move at a glacial pace.
I only harp on this because every other part of the Chez Elle experience is wonderful. A wide variety of crepes can be had, savory, sweet or breakfast as well as a couple of salads and some bakery items. They also have a coffee bar with a rather quick barista, she could make a latte quicker than the owner could ring up a customer.
I got the crepe they call The Madame, I prefer to call it the #24. This also lent to my frustration with the counter lady because I wanted to call it the #24 and she insisted I said I wanted The Madame in order for her to ring it up. I really enjoyed that emasculation in front of middle aged women and hipsters. The Madame is a Nutella and banana filled crepe. I can't pass up Nutella in a dish that lends itself to its use. Stella got the #9 or Petite Maison, a crepe filled with spinach, Gruyere and sauteed mushrooms. Stella also got a cafe mocha and I had a regular coffee. Our total was around $20.
We were given a number and sat down in the dining room. It's a rather charming dining room with a French motif. We were seated near a map of the Paris metro system which was quite interesting to look at. It took less than 5 minutes for our crepes to arrive and they were quite a generous portion. We were a little worried they would be a little skimpy.My crepe was just wonderful. Every time I have something with Nutella I wonder why I don't have it every day. I would have enjoyed a little more banana in it, but I could barely finish the thing anyway so I guess it didn't matter much. Stella liked here crepe just fine after she added some salt. My coffee wasn't that great and Stella didn't think much of her mocha, though it did have a little bit of artistic flair to it.Aside from the awful counter service (Ellen was friendly, but friendliness doesn't overcome our frustration with standing in line for 20 minutes watching her screw up over and over), Chez Elle was quite a nice experience. I'm certainly willing to go back and I hope that the ordering system is improved on my next visit. Once it is, I think the kids will enjoy it. We made them a Nutella banana crepe at home the next day. It will certainly be one of the best breakfast spots in the city in one of the best neighborhoods (Westside Local and Bluebird are within a block) once the kinks are worked out. It's also a wonderful place to go if you're heading to Boulevard for a morning tour (as we were). The brewery is a scant 5 blocks away.
My happy plate or Chimpo's underwear? You decide.