Tag Archives: breakfast

Crêpe Cellar Kitchen & Pub

Restaurant: Crêpe Cellar Kitchen & Pub
Locations: 3116 N. Davidson Street
Website: http://www.crepecellar.com
Dress: Casual
Cuisine: Blend of European and American
Price Range:

  • Starters: $4-9
  • Entrées: $6-16 (most around $7-12)
  • Desserts: $4.5-9

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 spoons

The Scoop:

I’ve been mourning Addie’s Jamaican Cuisine despite the terrible service. Oh, red beans and rice! How I loved thee! But I have to admit, there’s a new restaurant on the block that does soothe my pain. You’ve probably noticed the Crêpe Cellar Kitchen & Pub as you’ve driven through NoDa. I was anxious to see what the restaurant was all about, and was pleased with what I found.

The atmosphere is bustling, friendly, and casual. When we walked in one Sunday around noon, a guitarist was strumming by the bar, the windows were all pulled open, people were laughing and digging into some delicious-looking food; in short, it looked promising! The space is tight, and we were admittedly a bit crowded, but it added to the “neighborhood pub” atmosphere.

There was something very satisfying and rustic about the food, as well. My sister ordered a masterpiece of a crepe: the Smoked Salmon Breakfast Crêpe, comprised of smoked salmon, egg, spinach, Gruyère, and hollandaise. The flavors were delicate and delicious. I love the idea of salmon as a breakfast or brunch option — it feels fresh and light, just right for a lazy morning.

Smoked Salmon Breakfast Crêpe

My little brother, Alex, also made an excellent choice, albeit perhaps not as brunch-appropriate! He chose a Crêpe Cellar Burger from the sandwich menu, which included Gruyère (they must love this cheese, and I can’t blame them), onion straws, and garlic aioli on a toasted bun. The entire burger was delicious, but in particular, the onion straws made it stand out. The tang and crunch with the other flavors was perfect.

Crêpe Cellar Burger

The burger came with a choice of side: fries or slaw. Having not tried the slaw, I can’t tell you for sure that you should get the fries . . . but you should get the fries. You can get them with pesto and brie and they were, hands down, the best part of the meal. It might be surprising that a side of french fries trounced all of our other food, but remember two key words: PESTO and BRIE! Just look at these beauties:

Pesto Brie French Fries

Am I forgetting anything? Oh, right. And then there’s my meal. If this sounds like an afterthought, that’s because it is. My meal, in contrast to all of the yumminess above, was very unremarkable. I saw what looked to be a delicious plate of french toast as I walked into the Crêpe Cellar, and it looked even better on the menu: Brioche French Toast with Kahlua Batter. I ordered it, but sad to say, it was very, very regular french toast. In fact, it was a little dry. I like my homemade french toast better. They gave me quite a pile of the stuff, but when it comes down to it, I preferred snagging fries off my brother’s plate than eating my pile of bread.

Brioche French Toast with Kahlua Batter

Another small bone to pick may be obvious from the pictures above. I’m not snobby about presentation, but I do feel the appearance of food is part of the experience and some effort should go into it. Neither my sister’s crêpe nor my brother’s burger looks like a dish that’s going to taste amazing. In fact, they look like they could be pretty mediocre. Just look at the burger, slapped on one side of an empty plate with a stray onion here and there. I like the idea of having a rustic, comfortable restaurant and the food can look rustic and comfortable. But perhaps not . . . sloppy? Rushed?

Overall, I hope you’ll try the Crêpe Cellar Kitchen & Pub. We enjoyed our brunch very much, and the service sure beats that of its predecessor, Addie’s (one reader recounts seeing Addie herself asleep on her restaurant’s couch). The food is (mostly) great, with lovely flavor pairings. Just skip the french toast!

Have you tried the Crêpe Cellar Kitchen & Pub yet? Enjoy the atmosphere? Any particular dishes you love? Share your thoughts by clicking on the “Comments” link below!


Zada Jane’s Corner Café

Restaurant: Zada Jane’s Corner Café
Location: 1601 Central Avenue
Website: http://www.zadajanes.com
Dress: Casual
Cuisine: Hormone-free meats, vegetarian friendly, organic and local where possible. Breakfast is a specialty.
Price Range:

  • Breakfast: $6.45-$9.45
  • Lunch (soups, salads, sandwiches): $5.50-$8.95
  • Dinner Appetizers: $6-10
  • Dinner Entrées: $12-23
  • Desserts: $6
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 spoons

The Scoop:

Cute, colorful Zada Jane’s is doing a rockin’ business at their corner café serving the best in hippie-friendly fare. We’re talking meats free of drugs and hormones, plenty of vegetarian happiness, gluten-free foods available, organic and local produce where possible, and a wide range of coffees and teas. A horde of hungry breakfast-seekers crowd the doors of the funky little building any given morning. Mike and I stopped in one Saturday to see why.

I ordered the Pinckney Street Pancakes, described on the menu as, “three big and fluffy buttermilk pancakes topped with honey butter and served with maple syrup.” The pancakes were, indeed, big and fluffy — plenty generous portions and a yummy texture. I would’ve liked more honey butter, since that hint of mellow sweetness is what makes this dish unique. I’m sure I could’ve asked my server but it was kind of hard to flag her down . . . more on this later!

Zada Jane's Pinckney Street Pancakes
Zada Jane’s Pinckney Street Pancakes

Mike ordered the Michael T.’s Amaretto French Toast, described as “two thick and hearty fresh challah slices dipped in vanilla and amaretto batter, with orange butter and toasted almonds.” Challah is a traditional braided Jewish bread, in case you were wondering. The french toast was golden and delicious and generous, though I might’ve expected a bit stronger of a flavor — a little more uniqueness, if you will — after all that vanilla and amaretto business. At any rate, the almonds added crunch to the crisp outside of the bread and the inside melted in your mouth just as a good piece of french toast should. Unfortunately the orange butter was a mismatch, in my opinion. Orange and vanilla sound fine, but when you go adding maple syrup into the mix, things get bizarre. I recommend you try the orange butter on a corner of the toast before going the whole hog and spreading it like a maniac. Next time we’ll ask for regular butter on the side.

Zada Jane's Michael T.'s Amaretto French Toast
Zada Jane’s Michael T.’s Amaretto French Toast

Never content to eat a reasonable amount of food like reasonable people do, Mike and I also ordered some extras. My favorite by far was the Big Ol’ Fluffy TLC Biscuit with Herb Gravy. It looks beige and blah in my photograph, but it’s anything but! The biscuit lives up to its big ol’ fluffy name and has a down-home Southern flavor, though somehow it’s not as heavy. The GRAVY, though, is where this dish really shines. I had my doubts, because I’m a biscuits and gravy purist; could anything but a good, heavy sausage gravy really satisfy me? The herby gravy was perfect, though — it had the saltiness and creaminess of my sausage gravy with a delightful colorful flavor (the mingling of those herbs!) and a light feel. Instead of sitting in my stomach like a Southern comfort-food rock, this twist on biscuits and gravy felt springy and light.

Zada Jane's Big Ol' Fluffy TLC Biscuit with Herb Gravy
Zada Jane’s Big Ol’ Fluffy TLC Biscuit with Herb Gravy

Finally, Mike and I enjoyed the Herb’s Roasted Spuds, savory, herby baby red potatoes and caramelized onions. My only complaint about these little jewels was that there weren’t many of them, but you know, maybe my portion judgment is off after eating too much for so long!

Zada Jane's Herb's Roasted Spuds
Zada Jane’s Herb’s Roasted Spuds

With all this breakfast talk, you might wonder how dinner fares at Zada Jane’s. You know that weirdo switch in the middle of Hancock, the new Will Smith superhero movie? Yeah, Zada Jane’s is kind of like that! They’re happenin’ and light and chatty during the day with breakfast, soups, salads, and wraps, but at night they pull out a sleeker (and much less affordable) menu. While their website says they serve breakfast all day, that’s unfortunately not the case. I’ve only visited ZJ’s for dinner once and sadly neglected to take photos, but the summary is this: though I enjoyed it, I didn’t enjoy it enough for the cost and I much prefer the mood and food of breakfast. I had Zada Jane’s Shrimp & Grits: good, but not $15 good. I wish I remembered more about the dish itself. My sister had Roasted Wild Mushroom Ravioli and it had a great light sauce, but like many ravioli dishes I’ve tried, just didn’t have enough food to warrant the $13 price. All in all, based on just my one dinner attempt, I’d say skip the nights at Zada Jane’s and go for breakfast or lunch.

So far I’ve been focusing on the food, which was by far the most enjoyable part of our trip, but unfortunately I have to touch on the service and restaurant organization as well. Our servers were sweet, helpful, and trying the best they could all three times I’ve visited, but there simply aren’t enough of them for the breakfast rush and tables necessarily go without attention at times. In addition, the crowd waiting for tables isn’t well-managed: the two times I’ve been for breakfast, no one was taking names at the door and there was no way to establish which party arrived first, so tables were doled out willy-nilly. Without some organizational system, it’s necessary to wait inside or risk being forgotten or passed over, which makes the entry way unbearably crowded. On my first visit, one group of people gave up and left to seek out a different restaurant. I’m glad I stuck it out, but I do wish the issue were better managed.

While I love me some Zada Jane’s breakfast, the high price of dinner and crowd management issues knock it down to 3 out of 5 spoons for now (maybe 3.5 spoons — I like the place, really!). One of The Spoon’s recent commenters, Emily, works at Zada Jane’s and has particularly recommended the Beauregard Omelet and the Chantilly Chicken Salad Wrap, which sound like 2 great reasons to go back and give ZJ’s a chance to earn those extra spoons!

Have you been to the Zada Jane’s Corner Café? Think $15 is a totally fair price for a dinner entrée? Want to recommend a dish for me to try on my next trip? Share your thoughts by clicking on the “Comments” link below.