Lunch, Anyone? The Paris Creperie
A taste of France suitable for any budget
Strolling through Coolidge Corner is an epicurean’s dream: you can pick from Italian (Botega Fiorentina), Vietnamese (Pho Lemongrass), Middle Eastern (Shawarma King), Indian (Shan-A-Punjab), Korean (Tasa), and Mexican (Dorado Tacos & Cemitas) cuisine. And tucked between an optometrist and a pharmacy, across the street from the popular Brookline Booksmith, is the Paris Creperie, a neighborhood fixture for more than a decade.
We trudged through the snow on a recent Sunday at lunchtime, pretending we were walking along the Seine en route to our favorite French café. The restaurant windows were foggy with condensation and the neon Paris Creperie sign shone brightly in the gloom. Opening the door, we discovered a packed café, every table occupied save one. After claiming it, we stood in a line that almost reached the door, trying to decide what to order.
The menu, written in the colors of the French flag: red, blue and white, spans the front of the café. Paris Creperie offers 10 different savory crepes at lunch ($7.95 to $11.95) as well as 8 sweet crepes ($4.45 to $8.95), many whose titles are an amusing play on words. All of them offer an inventive combination of ingredients. The Storming of the Basil ($10.95) is an oregano-infused crepe with chicken, fresh mozzarella, roasted red peppers, sautéed mushrooms, and pesto. Helen & Paris ($7.95), a vegetarian option, is a mint-infused crepe with chickpeas, feta cheese, kale, Roma tomato, Kalamata olives, and a cucumber mint relish. The sweet crepes are filled with treats like S’mores, dulce de leche, Nutella, and fresh fruit toppings. The creperie also offers a gluten-free crepe substitute, made with buckwheat batter.
Want to create your own crepe? The menu offers a “You Be the Chef” option, where diners can select a combination of cheeses, meats, vegetables, and infusions to make their own crepe, paying by the ingredient. A variety of breakfast crepes is available all day long—including a cinnamon-infused French Toast crepe ($8.95), made with eggs, maple syrup, and powdered sugar and topped with blueberries, bananas, or strawberries. Paris Creperie also offers a wide selection of coffee and Nutella chocolate drinks, perfect for the cold weather ($3.75-$6.50), as well as a variety of smoothies (mango, cranberry or apple juice, fresh fruit) and various sorbets and frozen yogurts ($5.30 to $6.95).
Scanning back and forth across the menu as more people lined up behind us, we spontaneously decided to go with the first savory crepe listed, the Napoleon, a basil-infused crepe with prosciutto, Fontina cheese, fennel, red onion, and fresh basil leaves ($10.95), and a Lemon and Sugar Crepe ($4.45), filled with fresh squeezed lemon juice, butter, and sugar, for dessert.
Because the café was full, it was fairly noisy. That said, we’ve dropped by on other occasions later in the afternoon for a cup of tea and found it fairly quiet and empty—a atmosphere conducive for studying.
After ordering, we went back to our table and watched the staff at work in the open kitchen. Two clocks hung behind them: one giving local time, the other set ahead six hours to Paris time.
Two crepe makers were chatting and laughing as they ladled batter from a large bowl onto a raised, circular black surface, topping the crepes with filling when they began to solidify.
Our crepes arrived quickly and we tucked into the savory one first, the first bite full of rich, melty Fontina cheese. The menu contains a descriptive tagline for each crepe—the Napoleon promises that it’s “definitely not short on flavor.” It couldn’t have been a more accurate description.
The mix of gooey cheese, thinly sliced prosciutto, and crunch from the fennel provided a great combination of textures. Red onion can sometimes be overpowering in dishes, but not its addition here: the sautéed onion brought out the flavor and sweetness. The basil infused the crepe with a fresh bite.
Our dessert crepe was equally tasty. It was served with caramel sauce drizzled on top and fresh lemon juice combined with sugar on the inside. The sugar mellowed the bitterness of the lemon, giving it a sweet, but not cloying, flavor.
We left the restaurant feeling full, but not overly stuffed. The lightness of the crepes and the fresh and flavorful ingredients make for an excellent lunch.
Also, don’t miss the restaurant’s “la Tour Eiffel,” a bright pink food truck billed as New England’s first crepe truck. Offering a smaller, but unique selection of savory and sweet dishes, the truck can be found Tuesdays at the corner of Opera Place and Huntington Avenue at Northeastern University from 3 to 9 p.m., and Wednesdays at Dewey Square on the Rose Kennedy Greenway at the South Station T stop plaza from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The Paris Creperie is at 276 Harvard St., Brookline, Mass.; phone: 617-232-1770; hours: Sunday to Thursday, 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday, 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. The restaurant accepts all major credit cards and offers takeout service. By public transportation, take a MBTA Green Line C trolley to Coolidge Corner.
This is part of a weekly series featuring Boston lunch spots of interest to the BU community. If you have any suggestions for places we should feature, leave them in the Comment section below. Check out our list of lunchtime tips on Foursquare.
Megan Turchi can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org Comments