la Madeleine has had a location in Baton Rouge for at least 15 years, and in all that time, I have never visited. I finally decided to go see what it is people love so much about it at the new Perkins Rowe location.
Walking into la Madeleine, I was a little confused about the order process. There were people standing around a podium near the door looking at menus, but others going straight into a cafeteria-style line where a cashier at the end rang up all their purchases. I finally asked an employee who popped up near the podium how things worked. She informed me that some menu items had to be ordered through her (which she sent to the kitchen electronically), while others (mainly soups, salads, and pastries) were ordered in the cafeteria line. I think some signage explaining this would be helpful for first-timers.
I decided to try one of la Madeleine’s “French Specialties”, chicken friande, a puff pastry filled with chicken, mushrooms and béchamel sauce, topped with mushroom sauce.
I love chicken, mushrooms, and creamy sauces, so I just couldn’t pass this one up. The puff pastry was flaky on the edges and soft in the middle, and the mushroom sauce was delicious. However, I thought the chicken could have been seasoned better; it was a little bland. After that, I just had to get a crêpe, and the Crêpe Romanoff (sweet crêpe topped with fresh strawberries, signature brandy sour cream sauce and cinnamon) sounded amazing.
Since I’ve had crêpes from actual Parisian crêperies, I’ve decided I’m allowed to be a crêpe snob. These were sweet and flavored well with cinnamon, but I thought they were a little thick. The strawberries weren’t as sweet as what I’ve eaten lately, but it is getting later in the season so I can let that slide. I really liked the brandy sour cream sauce. Before eating I didn’t realize there was brandy in the sauce, but the taste was very pronounced against the tangy sour cream, so I wasn’t surprised when I noticed brandy on the menu later. I thought that perhaps a better way of serving these would be to actually fill the crêpes with the strawberries and sauce instead of topping them. My favorite crêpes in Paris were filled with yummy yummy Nutella, followed at a close second by the simple butter and sugar filled variety.
I liked la Madeleine enough to say that I may go back and try some other items on the menu; I was a little disappointed I didn’t have room for any french onion soup (which had better be EXCELLENT at a French place!). The atmosphere is cozy, and with free wi-fi, drink refills, and an impressive pastry case, I could see students spending plenty of time holed up inside. I was surprised to see that there are actually some la Madeleine locations near places I frequent around Atlanta, so I may have the opportunity to visit more often than I think.