Good Eats: What Crepe? in Royal Oak
When Café Muse moved out of their cozy space at 317 S. Washington (to a larger, still pleasant spot at 418 S. Washington) we hoped that there wouldn’t be a “FOR LEASE” sign on the door for too long. We were intrigued when a little sign popped up a few months later– “Coming Soon, What Crepe?” What?
“What Crepe?” Is Paul Jenkin Jr.’s latest venture (he’s also a partner at Ann Arbor’s Black Pearl and Theatro, a nightclub in Chicago) and is his first solo restaurant. It’s a creperie in Royal Oak primarily featuring sweet and savory crepes. Opened about a month ago, the small restaurant and it’s eager staff are working hard to impress both in the front of the house (which is managed by Lita Taylor) and in the back of the house where chef Chris Swansky is putting out some beautiful food. Paul reports that he first met Chris at our favorite sushi place, Noble Fish, where Chris still works as a sushi chef.
More on What Crepe?, after the jump . . .
I tried the Monte Cristo (pictured below) on a recent visit. It came with a small organic salad and the presentation was beautiful – Chris’s knife skills were put to work on a piece of lemon and shined. The mix between cheese, ham, and raspberry jam is hard to beat – and it’s a good choice if you can’t decide between a sweet chocolate crepe or a savory chicken one. The menu also features vegan crepes; I didn’t get the chance to try one but Paul claims they’re tasty (and are flavored with vanilla and maple syrup).
I also had a serving of their French press coffee. If you haven’t tried French press coffee, you should. It’s bold and rich (and supplied by a Michigan company, Chazzano Coffee) — brewed coffee tastes like weakly flavored hot water in comparison. Before my order I arrived, I snacked on some “crispies” and Nutella – the crunchy crepe chips made for a playful appetizer. And if you’re not in the mood for both a savory crepe and a sweet one, they have some other dessert options including ice cream and berries and a fruit salad.
What Crepe? has a colorful, warm dining room which seats twenty-two diners as well as an outdoor patio area which seats another six (the patio is ideal for people watching). On Friday evenings and Saturday afternoons, What Crepe? features live music. Even the menus are cool – they are made out of old French album covers.
What Crepe? is open Tuesday (from 5:00-8:00 pm, $1.50 off all crepes in honor of Fat Tuesday) and Wednesdays from 11:30 am to 8:00 pm, Thursday and Friday from 11:30 am to 9:00 pm, Saturdays from 9:00 am to 9:00 pm, and Sundays from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm (closed Mondays). No smoking (phew!) and no drinking (yet!) They’re working hard to get a liquor license under the bistro plan we wrote about earlier here, hopefully by this fall. Check out their website here.
Also, check out my related post on Le Petit Zinc in Detroit. Let us know what you think of What Crepe? below . . . .