Back in their native France, Fernand's family owned a farm and Odette's owned a bar in the region of Brittany. When the two met, therefore, it was only a matter of time before they decided to open their own restaurant. But the Tersiguels went above and beyond: they created a chef! Today, their son Michel is the executive chef at their eponymous restaurant.
It was 1964 when, with Michel on the way, the couple first came to New York. Within three days of being hired at Top of the Fair, Fernand was promoted to lead bus boy. And within four years, the Tersiguels had founded their first restaurant, La Poularde. They later opened their second, Chez Fernand, though after nine years of success the restaurant was lost in a fire. Though the experience was upsetting, the couple used it as an opportunity to move downtown to the Old Baltimore Shot Tower.
In 1990 they opened Tersiguel's French Country Restaurant in the heart of Ellicott City, and the family has resurrected their multigenerational commitment to food—and their passion for the industry—by serving seasonal plates of classic French favorites. Escargots, frog legs, and bœuf à la Bourguignonne dance across the menu before house-made chocolate mousse delights palates. Odette's own family recipe is used to make the pâté de Campagne. So deep is the family's dedication to fine food that some customers even sign up just to shadow Michel for a day, following the chef from his 5 a.m. market trip to the kitchen as he prepares that evening's meals and invents his own type of fire to uses in the oven.
Much like artfully arranged crepe paper, edible crêpes add elegant taste to the thoughtful gifts they conceal. The family-owned-and-operated Mt. Washington crêperie serves up fresh French fare for lunch and dinner daily and brunch on the weekends. The backbone of the bistro's menu is the crêpes, and the lunch and brunch menus offer a variety of hot sandwiches to accompany the sweet and savory concoctions. Nosh on a midday smoked salmon panini ($9) with tomatoes and pesto sauce or a croque niçois ($8), a toasted ham and swiss sandwich with tomatoes and anchovies. The eatery's savory crêpes promise to satisfy even the most discerning connoisseur of the thin pancake delights with dishes such as crêpe Lorraine ($11) with fresh asparagus, brie, and prosciutto, or the seaward crêpe Normande ($16) stuffed with sautéed calamari and shrimp, veggies, garlic, and goat cheese. For a dinner delicacy, try an order of escargots ($9.99) cooked in a butter and white-wine sauce before moving on to the Carrée D'agneau grille ($25.99), grilled lamb chops served over a red-wine sauce with sautéed spinach and the starch of the day, or tilapia florentine ($18.99) with basmati rice, sautéed spinach, goat cheese, and capers in a vin blanc sauce.
Beneath sunny yellow walls and colorful hanging lights, the griddles at Sofi's Crepes sizzle with sweet and savory creations. Owner Ann Costlow opened the crêperie, named for her beloved and spirited puppy, after cultivating a passion for the culinary arts through work as a galley chef and extensive French travel. Breakfast crêpes shroud maple syrup, blueberries, and bacon in an edible blanket, and spatulas flip up an extensive menu of specialties that can be enjoyed throughout the day and used to lure out the singing phantom that lives in every house’s attic. Savory avocado, gruyère cheese, and mushrooms compose a hearty crêpe, and sweet Nutella and homemade butterscotch toppings allow customers to design delights that pair well with coffee, cocoa, and cider.
The crêpe sculptors at Andy's Bistro shape soft and thin French specialties around warm fillings such as melted cheeses or chocolate. More than 40 crêpe varieties are available, including options for breakfast and dinner as well as treats for brunch and other mealtime hybrids. Savory plates include the roasted-red-pepper crêpe ($7) with mozzarella and pesto and the eggplant-parmesan crêpe ($7.50), which features three Italian cheeses and may be fried to achieve a golden, crispy shell. Sweet varieties include the apple-cinnamon crêpe ($6) with raisins and honey and the banana-split crêpe ($8.50) with berries and two scoops of ice cream. In addition, Andy's Bistro fires fresh meaty specialties such as the half-pound lamb-and-beef burger ($6.50) and the spicy beef-and-sausage platter ($7), arranged to reveal a 3-D image of veggies when stared at from certain angles.
Each day at Fenton Cafe, Meaza Gabru swirls thin layers of batter on crepe makers in her open kitchen, creating delicate shells for sweet and savory fillings. She stuffs more than 40 different crepes with ingredients ranging from chocolaty nutella and fresh fruit to smoked turkey, cheese, and egg. In fact, her selection of crepes is so overwhelming that the The Voice recommended that locals visit weekly "until the entire menu has been devoured." Bold coffees and espresso drinks accompany Meaza's signature treats, which diners can savor on the outdoor patio or while sending a breakup text to their pancakes.
For more than 25 years, French-born chef Jean-Louis Evennou has filled Café Normandie with Gallic cuisine peppered with flavors from the Eastern seaboard. A chef since the age of 13, Evennou seasons endive salad with strong roquefort cheese and rabbit with tangy dijon sauce and simmers beef bourguignon in another rich sauce. Dinners also include American-inspired recipes such as crab soup with Maryland vegetables, as well as housemade pastries and crème caramel.
In 2008, Café Normandie was certified as a sustainable steward by the city of Annapolis for its eco-friendly initiatives. The restaurant follows intensive composting and recycling guidelines; in addition, it stocks biodegradable carry-out gear and serves its meals on tabletops made of marble salvaged from the ruins of the Louvre.
Proprietor Carole Robert named Annie's Bistro Francais after her French mother, celebrating her memory with feasts of fresh classically prepared escargot with homemade persillade, composee salads, and oven-baked salmon. Guests sip glasses of wine with plates of seared duck breast or colorful ratatouille, or share small plates of charcuterie and cheese.
Inspired by the chef's childhood visits to a family farm outside Paris, Annie's Bistro Francais hearkens back to the days before industrialized agricorporations and meals delivered via text message. Passionate chefs carefully craft each dish of roasted chicken and chevre-stuffed mushroom with locally-grown produce, free from prepackaged and processed ingredients.