When in Romany

Bistro E Europe

I'd definitely order that again, but only if Julia had run out of her sublime crepes. You can get beef stew with sweet cheese crepes, dessert crepes filled with cottage cheese or apricot jam, mushroom crepes -- or, as in our case, a feather-light crepe brimming with airy creamed spinach, served with a red beet salad and a side of the polenta-esque cornmeal dish known to the Roma as mamaliga.

Our final entree was actually a mistake: We'd ordered red wine- braised beef but received the chicken paprikash instead. We didn't realize the error until we'd eaten half the plate; as far as mistakes go, this was a fortuitous one. Served over a bed of tender, chewy spaetzle, whole pieces of chicken were braised with onion, tomato, bell peppers, and paprika until the meat fell off the bone in huge, moist shreds.

Details

469-5637. Open for dinner Tuesday through Sunday from 5:30 to 10 p.m., brunch on weekends by reservation only (at least one day in advance) from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Reservations accepted. Credit cards not accepted. Wheelchair accessible. Parking: easy. Muni: 14, 29. Noise level: low to moderate.

Cherry soup $5.50
Roma "velted" salad $6.50
Stuffed cabbage $13.50
Spinach crepe $12.50
Chicken paprikash $12.50
Cherry-chocolate flambé $5.50
Gundel Bull's Blood of Eger $20/bottle

4901 Mission (at France)

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Dessert was definitely an adventure. We ordered the cherry flambé, and a few minutes later Julia arrived at our table bearing a burrito-size crepe and a small brass pitcher of flaming rum. Though she assured me there was no chance whatsoever that I'd be engulfed in flames as she poured the rum over the crepe, as I stared into the pool of blue fire just two feet from my face I had to wonder. She was right, of course, and the rum added a sharp, warm bite to the juicy cherries and the generous slathering of chocolate sauce. Me, I don't mind living dangerously when eating out, especially when the results are so worthwhile.

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