Thursday, July 30, 2009

The Crepes Have It (Again)

Creperies are all the rage right now, no? Mais oui!

What Crêpe opened just two months ago in Royal Oak and is a welcome addition to the Oak's sometimes stale dining scene (the good places are great; the rest a parade of mediocre). Following the trend started by Josephine Creperie & Bistro in Ferndale, made hugely buzzworthy by Good Girls Go to Paris Crepes (still on John R at Woodward, but soon to be opening second and third locations in Midtown and Grosse Pointe Park), and further popularized by the divine Le Petit Zinc in Detroit, What Crêpe is serving up more of these delicate little dishes that are populating their way all over metro Detroit.

What Crêpe offers crepes of both the sweet and savory variety, as well as vegetarian and vegan options. Some of their specialties include Mushroom Madness with a blend of cremini and shitake mushrooms, Mixed Berry with strawberries, blackberries and raspberries topped with powdered sugar, and the signature dessert What Chocolate Éclair Crêpe, complete with creamy vanilla custard and topped with rich chocolate. They also serve organic teas and fair trade coffee to pair with your pastry (is a crepe shell considered a pastry, I wonder? And if it isn't, then what is it? Surely, even as pancake's cousin, it is still in the family of pastry? Ah, life's mysteries...).

In recent news, owner Paul Jenkins Jr. has hired on Chef Justin Kopsch, formerly of Little Tree Sushi Bar, to expand on the menu and double portion sizes. This little creperie is a concept unique to Royal Oak (frankly I'm surprised it took so long), and I imagine it will do well here (I'm specifically reminded of the success of the similarly-minded and similarly-eclectic Cafe Muse). This charming little crepe cafe is further proof that slowly but surely, Royal Oak is learning to re-embrace its indie roots (even if it is in a more upscale way). If Ferndale is the new OLD Royal Oak, the NEW Royal Oak is the new Birmingham, and Birmingham is...well, it's still Biiiiir-mingham, and it always will be.

P.S., the name is most clever when you pronounce "crepe" properly...shorten the "e"...kind of rhymes with "strap"...get it now?

What Crêpe is open for lunch, dinner, and private parties. It is located at 317 S. Washington Avenue and also offers outdoor patio seating. As added incentive, service industry folks receive 15% off their food bill on Tuesdays, and Royal Oak residents save 10% Tuesday-Friday from 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Their hours are 11:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday-Wednesday, 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday-Friday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday. Closed Mondays.