WADDINGTON The nifty corner gift shop in downtown Waddington that served crepes as a sideline is now a full-fledged café serving sweet and savory homemade crepes for lunch and dinner.
The Creperie at Artworks is now Artworks Creperie. Theres still local artwork for sale on the brick walls, but the shelves in the middle of the room filled with gift items are gone, replaced by café tables. The little restaurant can now accommodate 30 or 40 guests.
It occupies a historical building with a view of the St. Lawrence River as you enter. The new dining room has a very pleasant aura; a nice space to share a meal and conversation with friends. The ambience is enhanced with soft jazz playing in the background.
We were warmly greeted by our hostess and server, Grace, who was very attentive and helpful throughout the evening. She handled the entire room single-handed, taking time at each table to answer questions easily and completely. Her upbeat and relaxed demeanor was a pleasure.
Crepe is the French word for pancake, a light, paper-thin pancake made in a special crepe pan. Traditionally, savory crepes are filled with various meat, cheese or vegetable mixtures, sometimes topped with a sauce. Dessert crepes may be spread with jam or a fruit filling, then rolled or folded.
The dinner menu is simple: choose from five savory crepes or a large Caesar salad that you can jazz up with chicken or shrimp. The crepes are served with a side of the day and a house salad. There are five dessert crepes.
The Creperie does not have a liquor license, but were told thats in the works.
Grace started us out with a basket of breadsticks, crackers and freshly baked dinner rolls, accompanied by a subtly seasoned herb butter. The rolls were a perfect balance between tender and chewy, and the butter was a great compliment.
The salad that followed was a nice mix of what appeared to be local greens along with cucumber, tomato and slivers of red onion, enhanced by a delicate house-made raspberry vinaigrette. The commercial croutons distracted from the otherwise delightful salad.
Soup of the day ($3.99) was French onion. We thought the broth was a little too intense the beef flavor came through loud and clear. A modest amount of nondescript cheese covered what appeared to be the toasted crown of a dinner roll. It may have been plopped on at the end, because it took quite a while for it to get soggy enough to negotiate with a spoon. The onions were lightly sautéed, well short of being caramelized.
We all ordered crepes for our main course. The beef Burgundy ($14.99) was a generous portion of what was essentially a beef stew wrapped in a made-to-order crepe.
The stew was pretty classic: braised beef, carrots, onions, mushrooms and wine. The sauce was predominantly beef base which overpowered the Burgundy. The crepe itself had a nice, tender chew and held together with the hot stew inside.
While the stew was good, the beef tender and lean, the carrots still retaining their form and texture, this crepe was better suited for a cold winter night rather than a warm summer night by the river.
The cordon bleu crepe ($14.95) was the favorite at our table it was very good.
Tender chunks of chicken and good-tasting deli ham were held together with a tasty melted Swiss cheese sauce; full of flavor with a prefect saucy consistency.
There are two vegetable crepes offered. One consisted of sautéed summer squash, zucchini and Feta cheese; the other offered broccoli, carrots and snap peas in an Alfredo sauce.
Since the Alfredo crepe ($12.95) offered the option of including chicken or shrimp (for an additional charge), we went with that one.
Perhaps we should have ordered the other. Our crepe was made with frozen vegetables, most disappointing at the height of the growing season. And while the broccoli and peas were of an acceptable quality, the carrots had an unpleasant texture that was a dead giveaway to the source of the vegetables.
We chose the shrimp add-on that added $3 to the cost of the crepe. They were tiny little things with very little taste we guessed they were the frozen, pre-cooked variety basically just thawed and mixed in with the veggies.
While the Alfredo sauce was light and just thick enough to hold the ingredients together, it didnt redeem the fact that this was the most expensive crepe on the menu and also the most disappointing.
Each crepe plate was completed with the vegetable of the day, green beans. They werent frozen, but they werent too fresh, either. A longer cooking time might have helped. A lovely strawberry served as an edible decoration. Good portions, good presentation.
Dessert crepes, priced at $6.95 apiece, were huge! One, split between the three of us, would have been just right. But that didnt stop us from making a good dent in each of them.
Peaches and cream had a filling described as vanilla cream, but it didnt taste much like vanilla and was more like a mousse or loose pudding. Frozen and thawed wedges of peach were scattered around the crepe. There was nothing wrong with the peaches, but we thought fresh would have been more appropriate this time of year.
Lemon and blueberry crepe was OK, but the lemon in the filling was hard to distinguish. With fresh blueberries being abundant locally, we just assumed ... Never assume. The blueberry topping tasted very much like canned Comstock pie filling.
The black forest was made with a chocolate crepe filled with chocolate mousse and some pretty nice cherry topping. Very tasty and not too sweet and gooey. Our favorite.
We took and apple and cinnamon crepe to go. This was like apple pie wrapped in a crepe. It was difficult to tell whether the apples were fresh or frozen (frozen, we figured) but that didnt matter. All the right flavors were there, and thats all that mattered.
Each crepe was decorated with airy whipped topping. Real whipped cream would have been a real treat.
Dinner for three and an additional dessert crepe to take home cost $83.62 before tip.
While there was room for improvement in some of the food, it was still a lovely place to dine nice atmosphere, great staff (that would be Grace).
And in the land known as the north country, where pizza, prime rib and chicken wings rule, its refreshing to see a little restaurant serving up something totally different.
You can contact restaurant reviewer Walter Siebel via email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
2 Main St.
The Creperie at Artworks is now Artworks Creperie. Sweet and savory crepes served in a lovely atmosphere with a great staff.
SUMMER HOURS: 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday (lunch and dinner)
9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday (breakfast, lunch and dinner)
9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday (breakfast buffet)
OUR FAVORITE SAVORY CREPE: Chicken cordon bleu
OUR FAVORITE DESSERT CREPE: Black forest
RATING: 3 forks