Crepe Suzette, a brand new Euro-Inspired eatery in downtown Fredericton, prompted me to start off my new blog with a review. I’ve never been before yesterday, though my eating companion (fiance) has once before.
I’d been waiting weeks since I noticed Fredericton Tourism and Downtown Fredericton tweeting about this brand new restaurant, Crepe Suzette, opening later in the Summer. The idea of a place specializing in crepes really intrigued me, as I’ve only been able to create a couple decent ones in my life. Maybe if I tried one from a professional I could garner some tips? What’s worse is I work downtown, and ended up walking by a couple times a week hoping to catch a glipmse of the inside. When they finally opened, I was really excited, but decided that I would wait a couple weeks so that they could work any kinks out. I was really dissappointed one day as I was walking home on a really nice afternoon to see their super-cute-picket-fenced-in-patio was completely desserted, and a waitress was outside asking people to come on in and try a bite. I know that they hadn’t done much pre-opening advertising, but I thought that there would be a couple people at least…a glance inside confirmed that there was no one present.
In any case, we had a little time to kill before a noon appointment for Pride, so we decided to cure my creperie virginity. Rob had been there once before, and didn’t enjoy it all that much, but I’ll chalk that up to him being a stick in the mud. Walking in to the front door, you’re greeted by a very different style design than what you would normally expect in Fredericton. Well, unless you’ve been to Relish, in which case think that but with an addition of Martha Stewart’s line of paint. The colours pop as do the funky lighting, but I was honestly more attracted to the gorgeous hardwood floors, soft robin’s egg blue, and the neat newsprint-style wallpaper.
Turn brain-compution power to 11 before you look up at the menu! You’ve been warned! A large collection of crepe-type food options are what was expected, and that’s what they deliver. 3 main boards, plus a side board with all of your filling options for a basic crepe/drinks are positioned right above the kitchen window. This is where it gets tricky, and where Crepe Suzette differs from the norm; unlike your regular restaurant where you come in, sit down, and are greeted by a server or host, here you order, pay, then take a number back with you when you find a table. When your food is ready, a server brings it to your numbered table.
I think this is a neat touch, but I wouldn’t have known if I didn’t ask Rob. Unfortunately, apart from saying “hi” when we walked in, the girl behind the counter wasn’t the most helpful. I had told her that I had never been there before, hoping for some advice as to how to order, what I should try, or even a casual-awkward conversation about the short history of the place. Nope. Nada. Just that one “hi”, then blank stares into space. I tried to remedy this by ordering the “Crepe Suzette”, as I figure the restaurant had to have been named after something good. “You can’t order that”. Sorry? I didn’t catch that… apparently I couldn’t order that until after 11am. It was around 10, so I conceded, but I had no idea why. I decided I had to look for breakfasty things, which is harder than you would think in a crepe place. I settled on ‘Grandma’s Toutons’, as I had a vague idea that anything made of fried dough was going to be awesome, and a cup of coffee. Rob ordered the Cora’s-esque ‘Good Morning Sunshine’ and a ‘Turkish Apple Tea’, whatever that was. $23.95.
We picked a table close to the window so that we were somewhat out of the way to talk as we always do. I feel bad when I’m that person that talks in earshot of people not in the conversation, so we segregate ourselves like that 🙂 I fell in love with the stunning slab of wood that was our table; the perfect size and shape for our breakfast, and topped with cut flowers in a tiny vase! Their drink menu was present as well (drinks??) and I was quite impressed that for a little place they had a good selection. Nothing major, about 5 whites and reds (good choices too), and a sparkling. Also sangira, which threw me as a little odd but fun. The girl from behind the counter brought us over our beverages, but I still had to get up and walk back to the front to try out their coffee station; which is located just to the right of the cash. Strange. Only at this time did I notice that they had a little placard sign on the counter, stating that ‘breakfast is served until 11am’. Apparently, I had ordered from the non-breakfast menu…but it was just called ‘Sweet’. None of them are named ‘Breafast’, and where everything is crepes I kind of think that they should do some sign-renaming. I found the placard itself badly written, as it should have read, ‘ONLY breakfast is served until 11am’, or something more eloquent to that affect. They do have separate receptacles at the coffee counter for recyclables, so props for that though. Rob loved his Turkish Apple Tea, but when I tried it I just thought it just tasted like apple cider. It was 3$, and I was expecting something rather mind-blowing. My rather reasonably-priced coffee was kinda bad… And I felt awful about it too as the one thing Rob had told me of his eating companion previously was that she really liked the caffeine here. It was a medium roast, which is was I usually drink, but it tasted really mild. Like, if I ordered a Tall Starbucks Blonde Roast, but asked for a Grande cup to fill up with hot water, that would be their medium (or at least the one I had). I had read previously in an article that the kitchen aims to have dishes out in around a minute and a half, but there must be some extra things done after they are finished with each as we waited around 10-15 minutes for our meals. It wasn’t a big deal, just like a regular restaurant, but I found it odd given the rather impressive benchmark they’ve given themselves. This time, a different server brought our orders, and she was a treat. A large improvement over our previous staff-experience, she was happy and laughing and commented on Rob’s Apple Tea.
I don’t think I enjoyed my Toutons, but then again, I really wasn’t feeling that well heading into the experience, and girl behind the counter didn’t make me feel any more excited about the whole thing. I want to finish my thoughts on Crepe Suzette by stating that I’m kind of mixed. On the one side, I didn’t have a great first-time. Rob didn’t have a great second-time. On the other side, they are carving their own niche in Fredericton. They are unique in their direction, and the have great promise. Still new as well so I’ll give them some credit there. However, they are only a block away from breakfast-food mainstay Cora’s, and are a couple minutes from places like the Coffee Mill which serve breakfast all-day. Maybe that’s not competition for them though, as though crepes are seen as the pancake’s older brother (you know, the one that went away to college and came back all snooty, clad in a beret with a guitar slung across his shoulder), they do have a separate nonmorning menu. It just takes a little (read:lot) to find it. I couldn’t find a website for them, and what I thought was their Facebook Page actually isn’t. I had been searching for ‘Crepe Suzette’, but I should have been looking for ‘Crepe Suzette Creperie Inc.’. I wish they would have either ammeded their front sign with the longer version of the name, or just shortened the name fully for the Facebook, as it really is confusing. A quick jaunt down their timeline/feed, and a number of the comments are points that I noticed as well. There is one that mentioned the same lack of knowledge that I had over ordering things before a certain time, but I guess the placard I mentioned was the solution. I think it should be re-solutioned personally.
A final note; when we sat down there was a woman sitting next to the window. She looked really comfortable, with her legs extended to another chair while she was reading a book. I took out my camera to grab a couple shots of the restaurant, and she immediately commented on it stating that she is an amateur photog herself. I stooped to talk to her at her table, and she showed me all kinds of things about my (Rob’s) Nikon that I didn’t know. Her name was Dee and she made my morning, and completely changed how I viewed Crepe Suzette. If she was that comfortable there, it made me think she was a regular. And if they had regulars, then that means that they are doing well and that makes me happy.