While a leisurely brunch from about 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. can hit the spot when you’re with the right company, sometimes it’s nice to find something that starts your day off well without consuming too much of your time.
Enter the crêpe stand.
There’s something great about an establishment that dives into what it knows and loves, featuring different executions of, say, one dish. If you’ve walked the main strip of Breckenridge, Colorado, you know the one stand, Crêpes a la Carte: You can’t miss it by the smell of fresh crêpes or the long line of people standing in the freezing weather. And that wait is worth it, because those crêpes are glorious. Steaming in your hands, that delicate triangle starts warming your soul and thawing your body the moment you have it.
We don’t generally have that kind of cold here, but we do have crêpes in West Dallas.
Whisk Crêpes Café opened in 2015 in the Sylvan Thirty development. This corner in West Dallas was new and shiny when it opened the year before, contrasting in style to the Belmont Hotel that’s kitty-corner. (I remember it well since West Dallas was my beat at the time.) After its first tenant in 2014, Cox Farms Market, we saw more tenants come in (and lots of people jump for joy when Tacodeli joined), then we’d later watch more multifamily spaces come in just down Fort Worth Avenue.
But Whisk went in pretty early, taking over a small spot perfectly appropriate for such a food, giving us savory and sweet options. And it still delivers, providing us a brunch that can jump-start a weekend (or any day, for that matter).
The menu is simple, as a crêpe place should be: a list of sweet options, a list of savory options. You can find the expected beverages along with French wine; this house selection will cost you a decent $8 a glass.
Whether you’re feeling sweet or salty, you can build your own crêpe or go with one of the specialty ones: They’re dine-in only, but all the decisions for making them palatable or superb are done.
On our visit, we went simple on the sweet side, making our own with a homemade strawberry sauce ($4.50). A crêpe is $3; toppings vary between 50 cents and $2.50. The sauce is fine, but we’d add another ingredient next time, even if we’re feeling simple. It’s tart and acidic, though, providing a bright taste with every bite.
Next time, we’ll opt for a specialty, such as the one with lemon curd, strawberries, whipped cream, cookies and mint ($9). One with cinnamon apples, cream cheese, pecan and caramel has us amped for a return, too ($9).
What really made our visit, though, was on the savory side. This larger list starts with options to build your own before easing into specialty options. A crêpe with Lockhart Smokehouse's smoked turkey, creamed mushrooms, mozzarella, Parmesan, tomatoes and pesto sounds like a solid choice ($13). (Really, creamed mushrooms in a crêpe? Yes, please.)
The French ham crêpe with eggs, creme fraiche, chives and greens fits well with the bistro-like setting, which is complete with French music over the speakers, by the way.
A crêpe can look so simple on the exterior: That’s one advantage of getting it to-go at a cart, where you’re holding it in your hands, which can open it up a bit more like a cone, revealing all that’s inside. Flat on a plate, it effectively fools you.
The French ham is chock-full with all the ingredients: The egg could’ve used some salt and pepper, but the ham does come in with a proper hit of salt. The creme fraiche smooths the whole experience, and the chives brighten up the flavor. The salad on the side actually has a delightful vinaigrette that had me forking spinach onto a crêpe — a first for me, anyway.
There’s good reason these crêpes should be delicious: Owner Julien Eelsen is from Paris.
“I moved to Dallas in 2008. Then Miami in 2012. When my contract ended and [I] moved back to France, I knew I wanted to do something different,” he says. “I had really enjoyed Dallas and the fact it was different and exotic to me.”
For locals, Dallas is not as exotic as Eelsen's French accent, but we’ll take it. When Brent Jackson gave him “a shot” at Sylvan Thirty, he took it because he liked the vision and the new development.
We’re personally glad he took the opportunity. Any chance we have to go to West Dallas, I’m in, and the more crêpes, the better, especially the ones here. Better yet, with this menu, we can make brunch happen any day of the week.
Whisk Crêpes Café, 1888 Sylvan Ave. (West Dallas). Open 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.
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