Food Critique: Chez Elle, The Crepe Adventure

I have a new favorite place in Kansas City (readers beware, this may happen every week).
Here is the deal.  When I was 17, I spent 3 weeks in Europe with $300. $300 for meals, museums, sleeping accommodations etc.  It was not exactly high rolling through European cafes.  However, I love food.  One of my great life truths is that limited financial status ought not equal poor dining experience.  Therefore, we ate a lot of crepes those three weeks.  At about $2 each, and unlimited options, they were an incredible value and I ate them voraciously.  Sustained myself on them really.  We frequently ate them for breakfast, a snack, and at times, dinner.  I believe there is a great psychological bounding which occurs when a food flows through your life blood exclusively for a week.  Crepes are probably physiologically a part of my DNA now.

One of the great sorrows of living in Kansas City has been no access to crepes (and gyros but more about that next week).  All that changed for me last week.  I went to Chez Elle in the Crossroads district.  This creperie and coffeehouse is in “the historic Summit Theatre building” at Summit and 17th street.  It’s a gorgeous building, brick on the outside with white and black tile inside- the Francois feel doesn’t come from the little Eiffel tower holders on each table.   The décor and atmosphere don’t do much for me.  It’s a bit too contrived, a bit too American imitation.  It’s beautiful outside and not too busy inside, but miniature Eiffel towers number holders?  Not so great.  Some of the décor is cheesy, but I’ll forgive it for brie, mozzarella, and guyere in the crepes (forgive me my cheese).  Eat outside on the patio if you get the chance.
Inside, it’s crepes, crepes and more crepes.  They have nearly 30 types of crepes- some sweet and some savory.   On my first journey there,  I had a brie, bacon, and pesto crepe-  all my irritation with Kansas City cuisine instantly melted away.  Those strong, vibrant flavors wrapped in the tender crepe make a near perfect dish.  Sold.  Hook, line and sinker, I’m sold on Chez Elle.  I scheduled 3 lunch dates there for the next 3 weeks.

On my next soiree, I had the “Chez Elle” chicken, spinach, sun-dried tomatoes (they were GREAT), mushrooms and mozzarella pesto sauce. These flavors didn’t meld for me as well as the brie/bacon/pesto, but it was delish.  My dining partner had a Greek-inspired crepe that was very, very good.  The pièce de résistance, though was the lemon curd and strawberry crepe with raspberry drizzle.  I am going to forgo lunch on my next umpteen visits there and skip straight to dessert. All of their sweet crepes look amazing- Nutella and strawberries and chocolate mousse with raspberry drizzle are next on my list to enjoy.  The dessert crepes also have much better presentation than the savory crepes.  Chez Elle also offers éclairs which my role model, Walt Bodein says are the best in Kansas City.

At $6 to $8 per crepe (the salmon crepe is a bit more at $10), and 30 delicious, different combos, lots of coffee and tea choices, this place is a great spot for lunch.  This is a good thing because it’s only open for dinner on Fridays. Generally, they open at 8am and close at 3pm, but check the schedule before you go because it varies.
1713 Summit St.
Kansas City, MO 64108
Mon: 11am-2pm;
Tue-Thu,Sat-Sun 8am-3pm;
Fri: 8am-9pm

Because it satisfies my crepe-craving and because some flavor combinations are amazing, Chez Elle gets 3.5 “hearts” out of 5.

by Laura Shrader

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