Although it's generally agreed upon that Melange Creperie serves the best crepes in Houston, there is one distinct disadvantage to the crepe cart: the weather. When it's raining or blazing hot (as it's about to get very shortly), head crepe-maker Buffalo Sean and his gang will often close up shop -- as well they should. After all, no one wants the Melange gang to die of heatstroke or suffer electrocution just for the sake of a crepe. (Please note: Melange only closes in the last two weeks of August, so don't let the heat keep you away; they're still at it every day.)
Enter the new Sweet Paris Creperie in Rice Village. It's air-conditioned, open for lunch and dinner (no breakfast crepes here as of yet) and offers an assortment of crepes that -- while not Melange-level excellent -- are extremely good. And although it doesn't offer the charm of a Left Bank street creperie, it has its own striking French allure.
The restaurant is trimmed out in clean, crisp shades of white, robin's egg blue and pale Nordic wood. The ceilings are tall and the dining room airy and bright, while the small front patio is cozy and welcoming to dogs.
In essence, it's an inviting place in which to relax between shopping trips along Rice Boulevard or to catch up over a light lunch. In fact, I can foresee the place becoming shortly inundated with ladies who lunch -- albeit a more low-key version of that crowd as the restaurant itself is decidedly low-key as well, fashioned in a sense after a La Madeleine -- but before that happens, you should head over to try its offerings.
My favorites from a recent lunch included a turkey and Brie filled with fat green grapes and knotty walnuts and a dessert crepe filled with a simple duo of sweet cream cheese and Bonne Maman strawberry jam. But although I stuck with the lighter offerings on that initial visit, I'm intrigued now to go back and try heavier crepes like the chicken carbonara with bacon or the Italian sausage and peppers -- crepes you can make a serious meal out of.
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On second thought, maybe Sweet Paris Creperie -- for all its feminine wiles -- won't be a ladies who lunch-type place after all. I know more than a few men who'd make quick and happy work of those crepes, especially with a graham cracker-and-Nutella-laden s'mores crepe for dessert.