A savory French crepe served at the charming Whipped Creperie & Dessert Bar. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)
By SUSAN ERICSON
Americanized crepes? “Why not?” thought Nick Napoletano, who owns Whipped Creperie and Dessert Bar in Red Bank with Erica Lieberman.
Traditional French crepes are served sweet, with sugar, Nutella, jam or a creamy cheese filling. But Napoletano envisioned “an Americanized, savory version,” he tells PieHole. “I wanted to take familiar foods like turkey and cheese and create a more hearty filling on a whole-wheat crepe.”
A traditional sweet crepe with a modern twist. (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)
So what possesses a nice young couple to set their hopes, dreams and future on what’s essentially a pancake restaurant? About three years ago, after a dinner date in Red Bank, a craving for dessert left Lieberman and Napoletano with few alternatives.
“There was nothing but frozen yogurt at the time,” he says.
The brightly painted shop, evoking the carefree days of la Belle Epoque, features intimate tables inside and out.
Originally meaning to serve cupcakes, pastries and sweet crepes, Napoletano grew the menu to include breakfast crepes, savory crepes and several more varieties of sweet dessert crepes. Then came a broadened breakfast menu that included Belgian waffles, French toast, and hash browns.
Breakfast is now served all day long, and there’s an “aggressive” lunch special featuring any savory crepe, bottled soda or water and a bag of chips for $10, says Napoletano. Gelati, a specialty coffee menu and blended iced drinks called whipachinos round out the diverse menu.
A Francophile at heart, PieHole opted for a number 26 on the menu board above the counter. The whole-wheat crepe is filled with creamy brie, Boars Head Honey Maple ham and a sweet layer of raspberry jam.
The whole-wheat batter makes a more toothsome crepe that holds up to strongly flavored ingredients. In this case though, a sweet crepe would work just as well as the savory.
The French-style crepe has a salty-warm-gooey center that is brought up several notches by the sugary raspberry jam. Even the seeds in the jam add a textural component that works well with the other elements. A simple fresh, green side salad dampened with balsamic vinaigrette accompanies all of the savory crepes.
Sweet crepes seem to be the more popular choice, even through lunch hour. A cookies-and-cream crepe is filled with a mixture of whipped cream and crushed Oreo cookies. Garnished with chocolate sauce and a dollop of fresh whipped cream, it becomes clear why a sweet-toothed crowd is drawn to the pink and brown pancake palace.
Crepes are meant to be eaten fresh and warm, which doesn’t translate to a workable take-out system.
“On weekends, the place is bursting at the seams,” Napoletano says adding, “It’s almost time that we need a bigger spot.”
Whipped Creperie and Dessert Bar is open from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and until 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.