French crêperie and bistro Maison Bleue is more Paris than Provençal, choosing an understated, moody blue for its walls and exterior instead of a sunny sky blue one, and mugs of strong chocolate-y RoastCo coffee over bowls of café au lait. The small menu focuses on simple French crepes, omelets, and sandwiches, making the most of a well-dressed salad, a good Dijon mustard, quality ham and cheese, and a selection of ciders, wines and pastries flown in from France. The Carnivore omelet filled with mushroom and bacon is done just right — well-browned on the outside, custardy and fragile on the inside, with good bacon-y flavor permeating the mushrooms. The galette complet, a savory crepe, is less delicate than Brittany Crepes, but it has a pronounced nuttiness and is generously filled with gruyere and thick slices of ham. Heavenly puffs of butter and sugar waft occasionally from the two cast iron griddles, beckoning you, perhaps, toward a citron crepe, which somehow, with just a bit of lemon and sugar, tastes like a warm lemon cake. Tucked away from downtown Berkeley’s hustle, the place strives to be an oasis of calm and neighborly conviviality, and generally succeeds.

— Cynthia Salaysay


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