When a new spot opens in town, we can't wait to check it out -- and let you know our initial impressions, share a few photos, and dish about some menu items. First Taste, as the name implies, is not a full-blown review, but instead a peek inside restaurants that have just opened, sampling a few items, and satisfying curiosities (yours and ours).
Restaurant: Crêpe Bar Location: 7520 South Rural Road, Tempe Open: Almost two weeks. Eats: Crepes. Price Point: Under $10.
The Valley should thank its lucky desert stars that Jeff Kraus, the man behind ++Experience++ and the currently defunct Truckin' Good Food truck (named one of the nation's "Top 10 Most Influential Food Trucks" by the Huffington Post), is putting his innovative spin on French cuisine brick-and-mortar style.
His new eatery, Crêpe Bar, in a strip-mall on the northwest corner of Elliot and Rural roads in Tempe, opened almost two weeks ago. And if you've got a hankering for the luscious thin pancakes with various toppings or fillings, you'll find them done differently (and deliciously) at this stellar shop.
Plus, crepe envy. But we'll get to that in a minute.
Crêpe Bar's small menu, which changes daily, features Kraus' unique sweet and savory crepe creations with most ingredients sourced locally or regionally. And this fall, Kraus plans on doing a brunch and a BYOB.
Beautifully plated and a treat for the eyes as well as the taste buds is the sweet crepe with vanilla custard, strawberries, and caramel ($5.50). Featuring rolled pieces of thin and moist crepe tinted brown with melted sugar, bright strawberries, luscious custard, and streaks of caramel, I traded off between using my fork and my hands to enjoy this sugary creation in as many ways possible.
On the savory side, there's Kraus' interpretation of the breakfast burrito ($6.50). Highly flavorful and with a mild, lasting heat, a chipotle crepe arrives packed with egg, bacon, queso, and a delectable avocado salsa for a fresh, light, and tasty alternative to the popular a.m. favorite offered throughout the Valley. My friendly server told me this particular crepe was a hit at Kraus' friends and family event, and that other customer favorites were the Papa K and the veggie stack. Commence crepe envy and the need to return to try all his varieties.
The interior of Crepe Bar, clean and stark, may not be anything to holler about yet, but the atmosphere is pleasant overall. And when you're enjoying the food as much as I did (along with a stellar cup of espresso or tea), I'm not sure a few more pieces of décor would have mattered much anyway.
Now go forth, and get your crepe on.
Here's a menu, but know it changes daily. To find out what's on it, follow Crepe Bar on Facebook and Twitter.