Creme de la Crepes

River Road Improvement Corp.
By River Road Improvement Corp. February 26, 2014 18:08

Creme de la Crepes

 

12-56 River Road

Fair Lawn, NJ 07410

201-791-0005

 

BY BILL PITCHER – STAFF WRITER

Need an interesting way to package your breakfast scrambled eggs with mozzarella, sausage, tomato and fresh basil? Wrap it in a crepe. 

Want a fancy way to show off your lunch of baby greens with pine nuts, apples, raisins and apple cider vinaigrette? Wrap it in a crepe. 

Is your beef stroganoff running all over the plate? Are your crab cakes looking lonely? Are your strawberries with whipped cream lacking panache? 

You get the idea. 

The crepe, mostly relegated to dessert menus in the most stodgy French restaurants, is having a renaissance in Fair Lawn. At Crème de la Crepes, a two-month-old restaurant, almost all of its 60 menu items are served on, wrapped in and designed around a crepe – a thin pancake that’s served hot, whose texture is somewhere between a tortilla and an omelet. 

“Here, the only thing that doesn’t come on a crepe,” said owner Svetlana Spivak, “is the soup.” 

Crepes used to be easy to find on the local dining landscape. There was even a dedicated crepe restaurant at the Paramus Park mall – the Magic Pan, which closed in 1990. But as the popularity of French restaurants declined in North Jersey, so did the crepe. Spivak thinks folks just took the humble, empty-flavored pancake for granted. 

“I guess it’s because crepes are just an old tradition,” said Spivak. “Every country has its own tradition, whether it’s called a crepe, a blintz or something else.”

Crepes

Crepes are simple to make at home anytime, provided you’re not in a hurry (the batter must rest for two hours before cooking). This recipe works for both sweet and savory fillings, whether fruit preserves for breakfast or ham and cheese for lunch.

1 cup whole milk

1 cup all-purpose flour

2 large eggs

6 tablespoons water

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for greasing pan

½ teaspoon salt 

Blend all ingredients together in a food processor or blender until smooth, about 4 seconds. Transfer to a covered container and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or up to 2 days. 

When ready to cook, gently stir batter to combine if it appears separated. Heat an 8-inch non-stick skillet over medium heat for about 3 minutes. Brush the pan bottom and sides with butter (it should sizzle when it hits the pan). 

When butter stops sizzling, remove pan from the heat, tilt slightly and pour 2½ tablespoons of batter (use a quarter-cup measuring cup filled a little more than halfway) into the pan. As you’re pouring, rotate the pan to swirl the batter evenly over the face of the pan before returning it to the heat.

Cook until the bottom is spotty golden brown, 30 to 60 seconds, Use a thin spatula to flip the crepe and continue to cook until the second side is spotty golden brown, about 30 seconds.

Transfer crepe to a plate lined with paper towels and let cool. Repeat with remaining crepe batter, brushing the pan with more butter as needed. Finished crepes can be stacked. 

Yield: 20 seven-inch crepes.

Per crepe: 63 calories, 4 grams fat, 2 grams saturated fat, 30 milligrams cholesterol, 5 grams carbohydrates, 2 grams protein, 61 milligrams sodium, 0.2 grams fiber.

From: “The America ‘s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook” ( America ‘s Test Kitchen, 2006).

It was actually Spivak’s son – Arsen Mirochnik, a graduate of the French Culinary Institute – who started the movement after a trip to Europe. “He came back and said, ‘There is no creperie here. We have to open a creperie here.’ “

Spivak and Mirochnik – who became executive chef – and other family members went to work with a mountain of eggs, salt, sugar, flour, milk and measuring cups for an edible experiment, trying to find versatile sweet and salty crepe recipes that would work with their new crepe machine, which looks similar to a pair of concave griddles affixed to a heater. “Finding the right crepe took a month,” Spivak said. “It’s not easy. It has to be the right temperature, the right portion .” 

Crème de la Crepes is the first crepe newcomer, but not the last. One town away, Mitchell Greene is launching Hawthorne’s City Creamery. Opening later this spring, it will feature crepes on its ice cream and all-day breakfast menu.

“You see crepes sometimes in Manhattan, and I thought we needed to be serving them here, too,” he said. “I have no doubt people will order them.” 

They’re already ordering them in Fair Lawn, where the breakfast crowd arrives when the restaurant opens at 9, and Friday and Saturday nights are filled to capacity. 

“I’d say that we did better than expected, but I always knew this restaurant would work,” Spivak said. 

E-mail: pitcher@northjersey.com

WHAT’S IN A CREPE?

A few of the myriad menu items at Crème de la Crepes (12-56 River Road, Fair Lawn; 201-791-0005):

Breakfast: Sucre – sweet ricotta cheese with black currant compote; Crème de la Crepes Favorite – smoked salmon, whipped cream cheese, Bermuda onion, tomato, capers.

Lunch: Istanbul – fresh hummus and tomato; De la Ville – brie, avocado, tomato and roasted peppers.

Salad: Versailles – baby greens, pear, apple, grapes, walnuts, pine nuts and basil-cherry vinaigrette; Caprese – fresh mozzarella, Roma tomato, roasted peppers, fresh basil, baby spinach and raspberry vinaigrette.

Dinner: Poulet – seasoned pulled chicken with sautéed onion, mashed potato and special sauce; Bifteck au Sauvignon – wood-smoked, marinated skirt steak with mashed potato and cabernet sauvignon sorbet.

Soufflés: Porcini mushroom and Holland leeks; Gruyère cheese and Roma tomatoes.

Dessert: Caramel – baked apple with ice cream and homemade caramel sauce; Bananas et Crème – fresh bananas, ice cream, caramel sauce, sprinkled with almonds.

 

River Road Improvement Corp.
By River Road Improvement Corp. February 26, 2014 18:08

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