Gluten-Free Mom tastes the French Onion Soup Gratinee and Side Salad
Although I’ve never actually been to France, I’ve studied it, having taken too many years of French in middle school and high school. I’ve tasted Bûche de Noël, seen the coming-of-age flick, “La Boum” and can sing “Les Poissons” from “The Little Mermaid” with a certain joie de vivre.
Keeping that in mind, I found The French Coffee Shop a delightful gem hidden in a nondescript strip mall. While some might find the restaurant’s Paris-themed murals to be tacky, I’d prefer to think of them as “kitschy” — in a good way.
I ordered a side salad and a cup of the restaurant’s famous French onion soup gratinee sans croutons. The salad was nothing to write home about, but the soup … C’est magnifique! It was wonderful and worth the hype I read online. The rich broth was steamy, and the Swiss cheese on top was stringy and gooey, just the way I imagine it is when served in France. Next time, forget the modest cup, I’m ordering a bowl instead.
teckenBERRY tastes the Cream of Broccoli Soup and Hot Dog
As an admittedly purposeful and stupid counter-culture move, I opted to try the most un-French and nondescript things on The French Coffee Shop menu. It’s just how I do sometimes.
So, I got a decidedly American hot dog (albeit on French bread) to offset the overwhelming amount of talk about onion soup and/or crêpes that happened on the way to the restaurant. As one patron had posted on Urbanspoon.com: “If you don’t get the French Onion Soup, you’re an idiot!” So I got the Cream of Broccoli soup. The soup made me feel like an idiot. You would, however, be surprised at what fresh-baked French bread and French mayonnaise can do to an irreverent hot dog. Things really do taste better when you add the word “French” to the name.
The one thing it doesn’t seem to work for is ambiance. The “French” in “The French Coffee Shop” does not connote “hip European aesthetic.” And that’s perfectly fine; it’s Cuyahoga Falls, not the French Alps.
Lil Circus Girl tastes the Chicken Crêpes
My mother took my sister and me to The French Coffee Shop when we were little, and it was always a treat. If you used your imagination, you could almost feel like you were sitting in a small French bistro in front of your crêpe au chocolat.
Going there was like being transported back in time, from the scent of the French onion soup to the walls adorned with murals of Paris. I ordered chicken crêpes in a Béchamel sauce, smothered in melted cheese. It was good but lacked flavor. I took my leftovers home and ate them for lunch the next day, and it was spectacular.
I must’ve had a wild imagination as a child because as an adult, I found the place more like a run-down American diner than a cafe in Paris, but there’s charm in that as well, I suppose.
Bread & Butter Blonde tastes the French Onion Soup Gratinee and French Dip Sandwich
I’ve always been a French onion soup fanatic, but I also feel like I’m missing something great at a restaurant if I only get a cup of soup, so I eyed the French Dip — freshly baked bread and thinly cut steak accompanied with hot au jus. Soup or sandwich? The restaurant’s ‘light side special’ features a cup of soup and half a sandwich for only $6. Voilà.
The French Dip came with French mayonnaise. I dislike mayonnaise … a lot, but today I braved the condiment. It’s hard to dislike this sandwich, which was juicy, rich and delicious, like a French Dip should be.
The pièce de résistance, however, was the French onion soup. Once you dig through the top layer of gooey, melty Swiss cheese, you find the sopping French bread, followed by a sea of delicious onions — a perfect blend of ingredients, at a perfect temperature and portion.
We completed our meal with warm, sweet crêpes, topped with fresh blueberries. I’d suggest this quaint little lunch getaway to anyone looking for a good meal with good friends.