I Adore Bargains And French Food, So I Loved Chez Machin!
A small place in the Hawthorne neighborhood of Portland, my two friends and I were the only diners at 5pm on a Sunday so we got all of the attention we required even if it was unenthusiastic.
Happy Hour runs from 3 to 6pm with a $3 cup of French Onion Soup, $6 Escargots and $5 Off bottles of wine. We got two orders of escargot, a cup of soup and a bottle each of a red Bordeaux and a white Riesling ($23 each after discount). We also ordered a Brie en Croûte ($9.95) off of the main menu as well as a Salade Lyonnaise ($9.95). The escargots were tender and full of buttery, garlicky goodness, but the server seemed to be hoarding the bread, bringing out tiny soufflé cups with 4-5 thin, small slices of baguette at a time. The brie, in puff pastry, was served with a berry compote and was tasty, but a bit underwhelming for the $10 price tag. The onion soup was good, but not the best I have had with more bread than cheese and the Lyonnaise salad scrummy with a poached egg on top of lettuce, crispy slab bacon, and croutons.
We decided to order three different entrees in order to taste a bit of each. I had the Boeuf Bourguignon ($15.95) and my friends ordered the Steak Marchand de Vin ($24.95) and Chicken Cordon Bleu ($15.95). The chicken and steak came with green beans, but mine came solo although I did get a Salad Maison ($3) off the Happy Hour menu that was very good. The 10 ounce flatiron steak was tender, cooked a perfect medium, and served with a delicate burgundy cream sauce as well as au gratin potatoes and sautéed green beans. The cordon bleu was also very nicely done and the dijon cream sauce was the perfect accompaniment.
The waiter was efficient enough given that fact that we were his only table, but a bit stuffy for such a relaxed, casual bistro. The three of us ate and drank very well for the $147 plus tip I paid for dinner. Oops, I forgot to tip the waiter ... just kidding! He was rewarded handsomely even if he was lacking a personality, giving him the benefit of the doubt considering that he was young and probably had a long Saturday night.
CombatCritic Gives Chez Machin 9 Bombs Out Of 10 ... They Would Have Received My Top Score Had The Waiter Been Slightly Friendly ... More Bombs Are Better!
Great French Cuisine, Outstanding Value ... Chez Machin Is Magnifique (Round 2)
Chez Machin is a small place in the Hawthorne neighborhood of Portland I found with two friends last July, so when I brought my wife to Portland with me this time, we had to return.
Happy Hour runs from 3 to 6pm with a $3 cup of French Onion Soup, $6 Escargots, $5 crepes, and wine for $5/glass or $5 off bottles. We ordered an escargot, a cup of soup, a ham and cheese crepe, and the Baguette with Cheese and Fruit ($3).
The escargots were again tender and full of buttery, garlicky goodness and the onion soup was much better this time than last with plenty of melted cheese atop a big crouton. The baguette and cheese came with half of a sliced apple and a few red grapes, simple, but a nice tapas for the price. The crepe was also well done, appearing to be made from whole wheat, light on the ham and cheese, and topped with swirls of crème fraîche.
We also ordered a the entree "special", pork loin stuffed with chorizo and wrapped in bacon atop a homemade basil pesto ($17.95) with buttered potatoes and green beans. The two large slices of loin were decadent, sumptuous, and superbly done with just the right mix of three varieties of pork ... loin, chorizo, and bacon. The pesto sauce finished the dish precisely and the potatoes, butternut squash and green beans were cooked to perfection - magnifique!
Our server, Heather, was efficient, friendly, charming and professional. My wife and I ate and drank extremely well for $46, plus tip, a virtual bargain considering how well we ate. Once again, we were not disappointed, but elated by the quality and value of this quaint little French bistro on Hawthorne.
Once Again, CombatCritic Gives Chez Machin 9 Bombs Out Of 10 ... More Bombs Are Better!
Price for two (with tip) $26
I’ve never been to France, but I did take two years of French in High School, so I feel I am fairly qualified to comment on the authenticity of Chez Machin. Based on what I assume and have seen on the episodes of 90210 where Donna and Brenda went to France, it definitely felt like an authentic French cafe. A little bit cramped, red-checked table clothes, provocative art on the walls, whole nine. Oh yeah, and the menu is in French (although not the food descriptions themselves, which is good because I have forgotten most of those two years of French.)
The menu at Chez Machin Creperie obviously includes crepes, as well as soups, salads, sandwiches and a bistro menu of more hearty items. I felt compelled to order a crepe myself and went with the La Saucisse consisting of sun-dried tomato-basil pork sausage, mozzerella, scallions, spinach, roasted red pepper and garlic coulis. I should note it was the most expensive savory crepe on the menu at 10.95, but the nice thing about doing this blog is I can totally justify the cost (or at least write it off my taxes.) The crepe tasted like a really delicious bolognese sauce in a perfectly crispy crepe, but honestly, for $11, seemed a little small. Of course, I was completely full after eating it, but compared to the plate across the table from me I felt like I’d been a bit gypped.
That said, Jared got the Croque Vegetarien, a grilled avocado and swiss sandwich that came with a side salad. He also got a cup of the french onion soup, oozing with crunchy bread and melted swiss. The soup is actually vegetarian, and even though it didn’t include real food, tasted pretty good. Chez Machin was definitely one of those places I’d been wanting to try for awhile now, and there’s a good chance I’ll go back, maybe even sit on the patio next time.
Veggie Options: Yes, and vegan, gluten free crepes if you are into that sort of thing.
Speed: Not fast. You know what they say about the French (wait, are they stereotypically slow?)
crepes La Saucisse
french onion soup
Chez Machin, located at 3553 Southeast Hawthorne Boulevard in Portland, Oregon, is an upscale French restaurant that serves a wide array of crepes, soups and salads.
Customers absolutely love Chez Machin, with reviewers raving about the food more than anything else. Popular amongst visitors are their crepes which are stuffed to the max with various savory and sweet fillings, their Chicken Cordon Bleu, and Cassoulet, which is a mixture of braised lamb, roasted pork, bacon and sausage.
In addition, customers love the atmosphere of Chez Machin, as well. The atmosphere is that of a classy french bistro. You would expect to pay at least $30 for an entree based upon it's quaint and exclusive atmosphere, but dishes are reasonably priced at only half of that.
In addition, customers also love the polite and expedient wait staff, who provide excellent service, by bring your food to you quickly and always with a smile on their face and a spring in their step.
If you're in Portland and are looking for some great French Cuisine, should definitely try Chez Machin.