(Editor’s Note: Taste of Crepes was sold in Spring 2019. We have not visited since the ownership change)
Variety is the spice of life.
Or so it has been said. When it comes to restaurants, a good variety is important because you never want to limit your customer base.
So it seems odd to find a Berks County restaurant whose menu is made up entirely of crepes – thin, filled pancakes that are popular in France. Where is the variety in that?
But with 35 different flavors available everyday, Taste of Crepes is all about variety.
Like any good Parisian bistro, Taste of Crepes has limited seating inside, with al fresco dining along the sidewalk. But instead of metal bistro seats, the outside furniture is all wicker.
This is Berks County after all.
Many of West Reading’s restaurants have been shoe-horned into their locations, and Taste of Crepes is no exception. What limited seating can be found inside – all tables for two except one four-seater crammed in the corner – places diners in close proximity to one another.
Still, Taste of Crepes manages to feel cozy, not crowded. Maybe it’s the wallpaper, which paints a picture of a Parisian street scene around you. Or maybe it was because so many were choosing to take their meals outside on such a beautiful summer morning.
Behind the counter, crepes sizzle atop the griddle. Unfolded with the filling layered on top, the crepes look like large pizzas waiting for the oven. Instead, the crepe will be folded over to trap all of the flavors inside.
Taste of Crepes is doing crepes three ways – sweet, savory and breakfast. Sweets include hot apple pie (apples, cinnamon, caramel and ice cream) and sweet and salty pretzel (sweet cream cheese, Nutella, ground pretzel, caramel and ice cream). Savories feature a variety of meat and vegetable combinations like the turkey Cali (mozzarella, turkey, red pepper, lettuce, tomato and ranch) and big boy bites (mozzarella, ham, lettuce, bacon, turkey, spicy ranch and Dijon mustard).
The breakfast crepes include a little of both, with sweet variations like cinnamon, maple, and my choice, fresh fruit.
Filled with bananas, strawberries, blueberries and whipped cream, the fresh fruit crepe works just as well for dessert as it does for breakfast. The crepe is folded in a giant “U,” garnished with more berries and dusted with powdered sugar.
As you start into it, the first bites are all bananas, then come the strawberries, and finally the blueberries. The three converge in the center where they have been folded together. The crepe, itself, is light and airy, like a razor-thin pancake.
The crepes are thin enough to allow the flavors of the filling to shine through, but thick enough that they don’t get lost, creating a complete dish that is filling enough for breakfast or lunch.
On the savory end of the breakfast crepes is the bacon crepe, stuffed with crispy bacon, two eggs and mozzarella. Similar to a breakfast pizza, but not as heavy, the bacon and eggs were cooked right on top of the crepe before it was folded together. Combined, it was a classy, yet hearty start to the day.
Crepes range in price from less than $4 for a cinnamon crepe up to $10 for the smoked salmon, but most fall between $5-8 so that you don’t have to feel guilty about spending an extra dollar to add a scoop of ice cream to your crepe (though some of the sweet crepes already include it). It’s the only actual side item that you can order, unless you count the smoothies, iced lattes and root beer float available on the beverage menu.
Taste of Crepes may be small, but its menu is anything but simple. I never would have guessed their French pancakes could be so versatile as to build an entire menu around them.
Yet this is one restaurant that certainly has brought variety of Berks County.
Food: Very Good
Ambiance: Very Good
Price: Very Reasonable
Taste of Crepes
617 Penn Ave
West Reading, PA 19611