Ah, springtime in Paris — posies in bloom, tables positioned at streetside cafes to best catch the warming sunlight, and a certain Gershwin tune lilting in the air. So it’s not exactly like Cleveland in April, but at least you can still get a taste of that most exalted French dish, the versatile crepe. Several Cleveland eateries offer unique interpretations of crepes from sweet to savory, traditional to avant-garde. And we promise the flowers and sunshine will follow in due time.
The French Quarter Café
New Orleans all the way, this tucked-away, colorful café is always dressed up for Mardi Gras. Masks, fleurs-de-lis and photographs of the Big Easy set the stage for scrumptiously dense Louisiana-style crepes. Served with an assortment of fruit fillings — blueberry, strawberry, raspberry or banana — the crepes are moist and substantial. Presented with rosettes of whipped cream and a harlequin pattern drizzle of chocolate sauce, crepes are $2.75 each. 5540 Wallings Road, North Royalton, (440) 237-9966, www.frenchquartercafeohio.com
The French Coffee Shop
Parisian sketches in reds and blacks cover the walls of this eatery, where a full entourage of dinner and dessert crepes await. The egg and cheese crepe ($4.40), perfect any time of day, includes a fluffy crepe filled with melted Swiss and perfectly whipped eggs. The caramel apple crepe ($5.60) is worth a drive from anywhere. Folded into a fan, the light crepe is filled with smooth caramel and crunchy, warmed apples, then topped with vanilla ice cream. 1911 Bailey Road, Cuyahoga Falls, (330) 923-3987
Le Oui Oui Café
Ohio City is the perfect location for this cozy café, decorated with Parisian pooches painted on the walls, Paris lampposts and whimsical curtains. The chicken, cheddar and chutney crepe ($10 at brunch) was alliteratively delicious. A gigantic, tender, perfectly cooked crepe held the filling like a burrito. The sweet, slightly spicy chutney mellowed and complemented the saltiness of the chicken and cheddar. And for dessert, a crepe shaped like a cone filled with the classic combination of warm bananas and gooey Nutella (hazelnut chocolate spread) was sinfully scrumptious ($6 at brunch). 1881 Fulton Road, Cleveland, (216) 281-1881, www.leouiouicafe.com