La Petite Creperie

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If La Petite Creperie inhabited this space when the structure was built as the sheriff's house (complete with a dozen jail cells) in 1887, crime may have been wiped out in McHenry County. The decor, awash in yellow, soft jazz and French tunes, expertly selected wine and fabulous food lull even the most hardened types into a state of gastro-bliss. Open since 2005, Nice native Frank Ferru helms this casual eatery, and has evolved a menu executed by chef Jose Aguilar, fully trained in French methods and cuisine. Dine in outdoors or choose a spot inside the bilevel cafe with views of Woodstock's historic square, Opera House and cobblestone streets. Ferru takes advantage of the county's rich farm heritage by incorporating locally grown organic and seasonal ingredients, such as roasted jumbo white mushrooms au Roquefort (an appetizer special) and a warm berry and creme anglaise dessert crepe. French expats would even rave about special starters such as blue crab finger claws in a garlicky bath, or the ever-changing pate and cheese plates rife with buttery surprises. For lunch, expect Francophile fave sandwiches (croque monsieur, hefty burgers topped with watercress, roquefort) and creative entree salads tossed with ahi or peppery steak. The dinner bell denotes substantial entrees such as beef tenderloin with frites, fish of the day and roasted duck as well as a special monthly entree -- paella or sauteed veal kidney in Dijon mustard, for example. Don't leave without sampling crepe Suzette, heady with orange butter and Grand Marnier, or the menage a trois: a banana, caramel and chocolate-filled crepe. Very reasonable prices encourage repeat visits, and nearly everything on the eclectic wine list is available by the glass. French breakfast served Sundays and occasional live entertainment spills ambience onto the sidewalks of Woodstock Square, too.