Walking in, we found ourselves behind two other parties in line for placing orders. All customers must wait in line to order regardless of whether they came for food or coffee. Ten minutes later, we were still standing there waiting to order. One simple recommendation to the Chez Elle staff as they work out their new-restaurant service kinks: employ a host/hostess and small wait staff so diners can sit quickly and order food from their table instead of having to standing in what should be just the coffee line.
Regarding the food and drink, let's start with the coffee. Now, I live in the West Plaza area, surrounded by the city's best coffee shops (Hi Hat, Broadway, Roasterie, et al), so I knew the coffee at Chez Elle wouldn't be the main attraction for me, but hoped that it would at least be decent. Unfortunately, Chez Elle commits a grievous error with their coffee drinks: assuming that all patrons will enjoy their légèreté des mains addition of ground nutmeg. Woof.
The food menu, however, is absolutely tantalizing. Every single one of the options listed on the classy black chalkboards (many more than what their online menu indicates) sounds delicious. On this trip, we opted for one savory (Legume), one that would be a little sweeter (Le Franco) and a soup - French Onion... what else?
The Legume came filled with fresh tomato, spinach leaves, mushrooms and artichokes. All of these elements were added to the cooking crepe raw and only heated partially. Weren't seasoned at all, either. The end result was a little bland, luke-warm and watery. I wouldn't order this again, but as I write this, I feel like the description makes it sound somehow worse than it actually was.
The final disappointingly ordinary aspects of Chez Elle were the ambiance and decor. I'd hoped for a touch of the history of the neighborhood or the old Summit Theater building - the building that Chez Elle occupies - but instead found myself in a rather strangely decorated, polished new establishment, instead.
With a long list of great sounding crepes at reasonable prices, I can safely recommend Chez Elle as a satisfactory alternative breakfast/lunch spot. Just don't go during a busy work week lunch hour, as I feel the weight and service will be nightmarish. Save your trips there for lazy weekend mornings, watch out for nutmeg, and take good company or a good book to focus your attention on, and you'll leave having enjoyed the experience.
Rating: one napkin