While off embracing foreign cultures on EHS hosted trips to France, the average low budgeted high school student could perhaps instead take a nice trip east to experience the same cultural cuisine without dropping a fortune on a plane ticket.
Crêpe Soleil brings a fresh taste to the Lehigh Valley, where fast food chains and various pizza joints pretty much dominate the casual dining scene. However, don’t be fooled by the café’s uniqueness and trendiness – it merely covers up its messy service.
Located at the Promenade Shops at Saucon Valley, there are two sit-down tables inside the crêperie itself, as well as a countertop with barstools lining the window-paned storefront. Despite this small seating arrangement, it can feel somewhat cramped. If there do happen to be too many patrons, outdoor seating is always an option in the summer and spring. Tables are situated right by the large fountain in the Promenade Shops, providing the perfect vibe for a fun summer treat.
Still, I would recommend sitting inside just to see the crêpe-making process. The kitchen is pretty much open for all to see, and takes up a majority of the space in the store. Only a clear plastic divider separates the customer from the hot pan and buckets of fruit. It’s enrapturing to see your food prepared before your very own eyes, and I’m sure plenty of millennials will find the sizzle of the crêpe batter hitting the pan extremely satisfying.
Seeing the behind the scenes action makes the wait seem irrelevant. Just as you start to think it’s been a while since you ordered, your crêpe is served.
There are over 35 crêpes on the menu, both sweet (sucrè) and savory (salè). You can also “Build Your Own Crêpe”, which is a standard feature in most specialty cafés nowadays. The most expensive crêpe is the Orly at $9.25, which has prosciutto, brie cheese, arugula, and fig jam.
The crêperie prides itself on its freshly-made home recipes. Their whipped cream is all-natural, and their jams are directly from Moon Shadows Farm, which is only as far as the Pocono Mountains.
At my last visit, I ordered the Dido and the Miel Amande, both priced at $7.85. The Dido is one of their two savory, vegetarian crêpes, the other being the Gyro. It’s stuffed with scrambled eggs, tomatoes, feta cheese, mushrooms, and spinach.
I was very excited to try my brunch-type crêpe, but was disappointed to find that most of the ingredients were cold, including the scrambled eggs, leaving the only quiver of warmth to come from the crêpe itself. The bistro’s “all-natural” aura was slightly tainted, in my eyes.
Despite the temperature issue, the crêpe was too mediocre to be almost $8. I wasn’t exactly devouring every last bite.
Next up, I tried the Miel Amande, and its safe to say their sweet crêpes are much better. Although the Miel Amande is supposed to be filled with banana, honey, and ground almonds, mine was instead a nutella and banana treat, described as the Moustache on the menu. Basically, the chef made me the wrong crêpe, which was honestly a bit disappointing.
Anyways, my Moustache was still much better than the Dido. The bananas and nutella successfully retained the warmness of the just-made crêpe, resulting in a soft and melting interior contrasting with the crispy, yet chewy, exterior. The Mariquita is the same as the Moustache except strawberries replace the bananas. Personally, I prefer the Mariquita’s combination, but to each their own.
Overall, the crêperie’s ambience outweighs half of its menu. Salè crêpes are not the way to go, so instead I would recommend to go for a sweet treat, not a meal. Still, Crêpe Soleil offers a contemporary experience for Lehigh Valley residents, and is a great place to grab a bite when visiting the Promenade.