Casse-Crêpe Breton (Quebec, QC)

After a fairly long morning exploring the Carnaval de Quebec, it was time for us to go find some lunch. We headed off into Vieux Quebec to check out the old walled city, and hopefully find a place to eat. However, we found ourselves doing this at the same time as a good fraction of the other Carnaval-goers, so we ended up passing several places that were rather teeming with customers, places that just didn’t appeal to us (I’d rather not go out of my way for Italian food in Quebec, for example), or both. But after a quick jaunt into L’Information Touristique, I managed to score a restaurant directory, and we were on our way to Casse-Crepe Breton for Crepes.

Nestled in amongst several other restaurants and pubs on Rue St-Jean just a few blocks from the Frontenac, Casse-Crepe Breton is a cozy little crepe cafe. Which is where a little bit of the problem lies, since Casse-Crepe has only about 10 small tables and a few spots at the bar. And even more importantly, has only four crepe irons, so their throughput is a bit limited. We arrived to find the vestibule full of other waiting patrons, so we started our wait outside.

Thirty minutes later, we were still waiting, now crammed into the vestibule, gazing wantonly at the empty tables just waiting to be cleared so we could finally sit down and not longer face the wrath of the waitstaff who was always yelling at us in French-then-English to “Fermer la porte! Close the door!”

However, once we were seated, things took an immediate turn for the better. The menu at Casse-Crepe is straightforward: they’ve got savory crepes for a meal, and sweet crepes for dessert, both of which consist of however many fillings you choose from the list. After a little bit of indecision, I settled on a four-way combination of jambon (hey, the French, and hopefully their descendents, take ham seriously), suisse, epinard (spinach) and champignons (mushrooms). For once I managed to actually order something in Quebec without having to resort to English. Madam Arandjelovic and her French I/II classes at Dobson High did me well. Sort of.

In any case, I was very pleased with my crepe when it arrived. The crepe was made from a fairly soft batter, which gave it the sort of texture I always like: a nice, crispy exterior with a soft-but-not-rubbery exterior. The ham was soft and salty, the mushrooms cooked just enough to be soft but still earthy, and the spinach and swiss rounded it out nicely. It was probably one of the best crepes I’ve had in a long time.

Dessert was a similar affair, with Carol opting for a banana and chocolate crepe (shown here), while I went for the slightly more unusual chestnut cream crepe with creme fraise. I think Ariane opted for strawberries. Both of us rather enjoyed our dessert crepes, with the same nice texture as the main course. Carol’s bananas were perfectly ripe, while my chestnut cream, while a bit sweet, combined rather nicely with the cream and the crepe for a nice nutty finish to our meal.

Sure, the service was a little irregular, and the wait long, but all four us had a pleasant lunch, and I wouldn’t hesitate to return—however, I’ll probably try to arrive at a less-busy time.

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