Mt. Washington’s Crêpe Du Jour sports a loud paint job, tacky decor, and festive dessert plates that celebrate New Year’s Eve 2000. But this is exactly what puts my wife and me — economically-challenged late 20-somethings who get a fight-or-flight response when a waiter scrapes the crumbs off our table after the bread course — at ease. This is where we belong.
Of course, plenty of restaurants offer a casual atmosphere. What makes Crêpe Du Jour special is that it combines a gourmet menu with a friendly vibe and friendly prices (well, not for everything).
We don’t eat there all the time, but it fills an important dining niche for us. When dinner time rolls around and we find ourselves too wiped out to put something together, we head over to The Dizz or Holy Frijoles. When eating out is a premeditated treat, we go to Crêpe Du Jour.
It makes a good date spot for Baltimoreans on a budget: The food is a welcome break from burritos and burgers and comes to the table well-plated. And if you know how to navigate the menu, you can achieve the holy grail of restaurant experiences, the thrifty splurge. (The trick is to avoid the entrees — some are on the wrong side of $20 — and stick to the crêpes, which are plenty filling and tend to be cheaper.) Also, it’s a short walk from the Mt. Washington light rail stop, making it a feasible destination for carless Mt. Vernonites.
It would be an especially good choice for a first date, as the menu is novel, but low-risk. Even picky eaters* ought to be able to find a conversation-worthy dish that doesn’t take them out of their comfort zone. The seating is packed tightly enough that if your conversation is dull, you can listen in on someone else’s. And when dessert comes you can laugh about the 11-year-old New Year’s plates.
*except vegans, since crêpe batter requires an egg, butter, and milk. Do not — I repeat, Do NOT — take a vegan to this restaurant. They wlll be forced to order something other than a crêpe (see above), you will not be able to share a cheese plate, and dessert will be an unmitigated disaster.
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