Crepes de Paris delivers mixed impressions
Resembling a Paris street cafe lined with potted flowers, Crepes de Paris truly stands out from neighboring restaurants with its red-and-white striped canopy and cute Paris-style chalkboard. A welcoming atmosphere emanates from the charming aesthetics of the restaurant, encouraging people passing by to discover the sweet treats Crepes de Paris has to offer.
The restaurant’s interior, like its outdoor aesthetics, creates an impressive replication of the Parisian lifestyle. Painted scenes from everyday Parisian life span the walls, and swirling French phrases caption each image. The restaurant’s low-hanging lights and appealing furnishings — wooden chairs and stools etched with black stripes — resemble the interior of a Paris cafe and amplify the restaurant’s cultural authenticity. Furthermore, all of the employees are dressed as chefs and cafe waitresses to make the exotic French ambiance even more believable. The most intriguing part, however, about Crepes de Paris’ interior design is the large window that reveals the actual chefs at work. Customers can watch the creation of their dishes from scratch, making dining here a fascinating and entertaining experience.
Although the restaurant’s atmosphere is pleasant and homey, the food is a huge letdown. I ordered a non-refillable brewed iced tea that turned out to be shockingly subpar, considering the small size of the drink and its unreasonable price of $1.95. The drink was simply a cup of brewed tea filled halfway with ice, and I was completely disappointed in the lack of effort that went into crafting it.
For the entrée, I ordered a grilled ham and cheese sandwich with a side salad. Though the price of the sandwich is more reasonable than that of the iced tea, the dish is dishearteningly mediocre. The bland flavors are indistinguishable except for an overwhelming taste of pepper, and the bread is poorly grilled. As for the side salad, the bitter salad dressing doesn’t complement the salad at all and leaves a sour, unpleasant aftertaste. To add insult to injury, the two waiters serving my table had appalling attitudes and grew increasingly annoyed with each of my requests. The waiters lacked the enthusiastic attitude the chefs had and were very uncooperative, which discouraged me from asking them for menu suggestions.
With lowered expectations, I decided to give the restaurant another chance and ordered one of Crepes de Paris’ popular Banana Crepes. To my surprise, the dish exceeded my expectations and stopped my growing disappointment in its tracks. The Banana Crepe at Crepes de Paris is served with a beautifully designed presentation: warm crepe with glazed Nutella, powdered sugar, warm bananas and a touch of whipped cream on top. In addition to the pleasing appearance of the crepe, the first bite immediately introduces a mouthwatering combination of delectable sensations. The mild sweetness of the Banana Crepe is well-balanced, and the warm, slightly crispy crepe and sweet bananas harmonize with the cool whipped cream to make a perfect combination. Without a doubt, this modestly priced dish proves that Crepes de Paris can live up to its name.
Crepes de Paris left a memorable impression on me with its beautiful Paris-themed design and decorative dining area. Unfortunately, the restaurant’s mediocre food and impatient staff dampened my overall experience. The Banana Crepe, however, was delicious enough to render those drawbacks forgettable. Despite its shortcomings, Crepes de Paris is the perfect crêperie for a quick fix. Although the amateurish service and substandard entreés make it an unsuitable place for an important meeting or fancy date, Crepes de Paris is still a great place to get savory crepes for breakfast or brunch. By embracing the cultural aspects of the French spirit in its food and restaurant decor, Crepes de Paris creates a small corner in Brea that truly feels like a miniature Paris close to home.
By Richard Zhang, Staff writer