Monday, October 06, 2008

The French Market downtown

On Saturday, Joanie and I had the pleasure of meeting for lunch at the newly opened French Market in the Farragut Building on Gay St. (530 S. Gay St.) CK wrote a post a while back about some coming-soon downtown eateries. While we have yet to see Gridiron Burgers or the Market Square ice cream type joint open, French Market opened last week just in time for fall.

This is a cute little shop and cafe. They sell fresh plants, flowers, and home and garden accessories and have a small cafe. The cafe is stocked with freshly made baguette sandwiches, little dessert treats and a small assortments of packaged cheeses for home use. Certainly the big draw of this place will be their made-to-order crepes. These delicious "french quesadilla" (I can be so fancy and culinary at times) come in both savory and sweet varieties. I don't have much of a sweet tooth, so I got the veggie crepe, which was stuffed with tomatoes and spinach and Gruyeres cheese. (It would have had avocados but they weren't ripe - Joanie got artichoke hearts to supplement the missing avocados). The crepe itself was whole wheat-ish batter(not one hundred percent certain as to what went into the batter); and the cafe's owner said that the other savory meat-filled crepes have a delicious French-type crepe batter. Anyway, the crepe was truly delicious. We ate our lunch on the little Gay Street patio, and we would have gone back in for soft serve ice cream, but their machine was broken. Once they get that thing fixed (maybe this week, said shopkeep), I am headed back for sure!

The French Market is really quaint and welcoming. Being close to Main Street, I think it should do really well at lunch time. I hope so, because it's nice to see small businesses do well.


ck said...

crepes, here i come!

do they make you order in french and then act disgusted if you use english? that would really replicate the true french experience.

Anonymous said...

You know...that IS the stereotype of France, but it hasn't been my experience after three visits. I find the French to be very patient with my horrific bastardization of their language and pantomiming about what I hope to order. My only criticism of the French Market is that the crepes are a bit too thick and the cheese a bit too common...though the portions are awesome. Pair the huge portions up with actual French stinky cheese and thinner crepes and we'll have true authenticity!!

Unknown said...

I love this place! Actually, the crepes I've eaten in Paris were not thinner (many eat them folded in a wrapper in hand, and thinner would mean they would fall apart)and, although the French love stinky ripe cheese, I've never had it in a crepe.

That said, this place is a great addition to downtown Knoxville. They are adding breakfast this week, to include breakfast crepes, hot and cold oatmeal, yogurt, croissants, and fruit. Healthy offerings at great prices. Let's hope this place stays around for a long time.

Lizzie said...

I just wanted to note that the crepes themselves are pretty much exact duplications of the crepe stand crepes in Paris. They use gruyere and swiss, both of which are used in France as well. The thicker crepe indeed makes them more portable as Morna noted.

The owner imports the batter mix from France and it is the very stuff you will find there.

There are also two kinds of batter--white flour and buckwheat. The buckwheat is denser and heavier, and popular in Northern France. The white flour is lighter and better for "dessert" crepes.

They will make either for you. The veggie crepe automatically comes with buckwheat, everything else is white unless you request it.

I cannot recommend this place highly enough myself. I just wish they were open for dinner as I have a hard time getting downtown during the day.