Cheiha Chleuh received the ultimate compliment from a Parisian: “Your crepes are perfect.” With the help of her twin daughters, Salma and Samira, Cheiha, who most call Mimi, runs Bon Appetit Creperie, a stall in the Boston Public Market they opened in July. The crepes are cooked to order, the batter ladled on a large, flat hot griddle and spread with a wooden tool the way it’s made on the boulevards of Paris. Large and tender, the pancake alone is flavorful, perfectly golden brown with its outermost edges slightly crisp. Folded into a cone, the shells envelop fillings that are not typically French but a fusion of Mediterranean and African flavors. A beef crepe combines chickpeas, tomatoes, fresh mint, parsley, and cilantro with a creamy sesame sauce, and is akin to a shawarma ($12.50). A veggie filling has spinach, mushroom, tomatoes, black olives, pickled ginger, mint, and hummus. The crepe is then drizzled with sesame ginger sauce ($9.50). Avocado, scallions, potato chips, and pickled ginger with a tomato sauce spread fill another ($9.50). “We didn’t want to make just conventional French crepes,” says Mimi. One sweet choice is classic French with a squeeze of fresh lemon or lime, melted butter, and sugar ($6). Another is like a s’more — graham crackers, marshmallows, and Nutella filling, topped with a chocolate drizzle and then whipped cream ($8). Drinks include fresh ginger juice made with pineapple and mint and is refreshing and piercing and a must to try ($3.50). Sweet Moroccan mint tea, hot or cold, is highly flavored from the abundance of spearmint leaves ($3). The family moved to East Boston seven years ago from Timbuktu in Mali, the West African country and former French colony. Mimi has always been a passionate and excellent home cook, and Salma, 26, says, “My mother’s hands are blessed.” But it was another daughter, Lalla Mourtada and her husband Shawket, who were the inspiration for the crepe business. The couple moved to Harrisburg, Pa., for Shawket’s work and opened a stand in the Broad Street Market and later a small sit-down creperie in the city’s Midtown neighborhood. The menu in Boston matches their’s. “Lalla wants to be the McDonald’s for crepes,” says Mimi. It didn’t take long for the Chleuh family to develop a following here. “We already have loyal customers,” says Samaira. 100 Hanover St., Boston, www.bonappetitcreperieboston.com.
ANN TRIEGER KURLAND