Ti Couz is difficult to assess because it is unique. The cuisine here is Breton (that means itâ€™s from the French province of Brittany). Not only that, the menu consists largely of crepes. I donâ€™t know that many northern French crepe restaurants, but I do know a thing or two about French cuisine and crepes. It is also rumored that I have a rudimentary knowledge of food. Armed with these dubious qualifications I ventured forth into this specialized habitat.
Ti Couz rolls onto the sidewalk like a pacific breaker on 16th Street between Valencia and Mission. Pale blue and sea-spray white parasols shelter the al-fresco diners, and the merry buzz of conversation laps gently around the earlobes. A musical clinking of glassware and clatter of china seeps out of main entrance and open windows in cheerful invitation to venture inside.
Ti Couz, which means â€śthe old houseâ€ť in French, reeks of a rustic authenticity. Unaffected by its distinguished ancestry, the interior of the restaurant is the epitome of functional French charm. The tables, bench seating, box chairs and stools are well-worn naked wood and the blue and white walls are decked with photos, pictures and ephemera of native Breton culture.
The menu appears, at first, bewildering. A huge number of fillings for the various crepes are available. Much as one can order a pizza, playing around with toppings, here one can add or subtract any number of fillings. In addition to the crepes, there is a variety of interesting appetizers available; oysters, salads, pĂ˘tĂ©s and cheeses.
I have dined here many times and never had a bad experience, nor have I been given a bum steer. On my most recent trip I opted to split the MoitiĂ©-MoitiĂ© ($12) appetizer with my companion, and we each followed that up with a savory crepe.
The MoitiĂ©-Moitie is a plate consisting of half charcuterie (cured meats and pĂ˘tĂ©s) and half cheese. On the day we ate, the charcuterie consisted of a quartet; two thick wedges of some highly acceptable pĂ˘tĂ©s and two meaty slices of a dry sausage and a softer garlic sausage accompanied by some cornichon and grain mustard. The cheeses were a trio of Petite Basque, St. Andre and Brilliante Savarin, served with an assortment of blueberries, strawberry and sliced pear. A basket of freshly sliced baguette completed the ensemble of epicurean delight. Although two triple-cream cheeses seemed a little odd, I happen to love triple-creams and the crumbly chalkiness of the St Andre was a good contrast to the gooey ripeness of the Savarin.
Glad to be relieved of my indecision as to what I should fill my crepe with, I took our serverâ€™s recommendation and went for that dayâ€™s specialâ€”the bay shrimp, spinach and spicy pesto ($9.75). My companion, being more certain of mind, ordered the ham, cheese and egg crepe ($7.50). My special was just thatâ€”a gorgeously fluffy buckwheat crepe, drenched with spicy pesto sauce and stuffed with a generous layer of bay shrimp so fresh they were almost jumping off the bed of luscious spinach below. The egg, cheese and ham trinity evaporated with lightning speed before I could sample it and so I can only relay the contented look on my companions face as testament to its quality.
Regrettably, having gorged ourselves on meat and cheese at the outset, we had no room left for dessertâ€”even to share. I can, however, highly recommend the white flour crepes with lemon sauce and sugar waterâ€”utterly blissful and the best I have yet to taste in SF. I always ask for some fresh lemon wedges to further deluge my plate and the staff are happy to oblige.
Although we visited on Monday lunchtime, the place was packed with a rich soup of Mission scruffy-chic. They do not take reservations here, but there is a board where you can add your name and await seating. I have only had to do this once, and the wait was brief. Service is matter of fact, brisk, but not unfriendly.
The drinks list is as vast as the food choices and warrants a separate menu. An intelligent mixture of classic cocktails and popular French wines rubs shoulders with rare beers and other exotic choices, including some fine non-alcoholic selections. My friend and I downed a bottle of the non-alcoholic French cider ($13.50) served in earthenware bowls.
Ti Couz is an original and delicious alternative. Its rustic charm coupled with tasty crepes and unique touches make it one of the Missionâ€™s â€śmusts.â€ť Oh, and before I forget, the salads (if you can find room somewhere for one) are exceptional. When I last visited, our lunch for two, including the cider, came to $54 including tax and tip, but I estimate for two savory crepes and splitting a sweet one, the expectation could be around $27.
Ti Couz can be discovered at 3108 16th Street and is open seven days a week from 10 a.m. (Saturday & Sunday), 11 a.m. (Monday & Friday), and 5 p.m. (Tuesday-Thursday), until 11 p.m. For more information call (415) 252-7373.