Ally
1453 18th Street, San Francisco, CA 94107, (415) 824-7166

Chez Maman is a small, nondescript neighborhood bistro that's one of those blink and you'll miss it places. The restaurant is long and narrow, consisting of counter seating that runs the length of the tiny eatery, 2 metal bar-height 2-tops by the window and one small outdoor table (Chez Maman's a great place for dining with 1, maybe 2 other friends, not any more than that due to the size of the place). Upon arrival, you place your name and the number of people in your party on the wait list that is taped to the front door. The atmosphere is warm and inviting and the decor sparse. Should you need to use the restroom, there's one right through the kitchen. The entire establishment is probably as big as my dining room and living room put together, if even that. The staff consists of 1 cook, 1 busser and 1 server. The server we had during our visit was courteous, efficient and brisk. Although he didn't engage us in small talk, I liked that fact that he didn't rush us through our meal despite the obvious wait for seating by other patrons.

I opted for the vegetarian crepe while my two dining companions went with paninis. One was the Croque Monsieur, the other I'm not sure (I forgot to inquire). The "mystery" panini came heart-shaped, which was a cute albeit cheesy touch. My vegetarian crepe was decent. It was stuffed with zucchini, roasted peppers, mushrooms and heavy on the tomato...all those healthy veggies that your mom would be proud you're eating. We also got a side of pomme frites with aioli to split and a few glasses of wine to chat over. My viognier was ok, but I felt their wine by the glass prices were a bit high considering what they were serving. The match-stick like fries on the other hand were probably my favorite part of the meal. They were crunchy, tasty and the lemon aioli was the perfect accompaniment.

Chez Maman did a nice job of filling our tummies before we scooted off to grab some drinks, but by no means did I find it to stand out from the vast selection of SF eateries.
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