I made an excellent choice, though sadly belated."Sadly," because for months I've been walking by the expanded Napoleon's Crêperie & Gelateria in downtown Salem, Oregon (189 Liberty Street NE) and didn't know what I was missing.
Never went in. Never ate there. Until last Thursday, during a visit by my daughter and granddaughter. We'd enjoyed the Riverfront Children's Museum and Carousel. I needed to refuel. "Crepes! We should get crepes!" I announced.
I could tell that my eatery suggestion was met with some skepticism. My wife is health conscious. So is my daughter. My granddaughter, like most kids, knows what she likes to eat. Also, what she doesn't. Crepes were a mystery to her. Mostly to me too, as I'd only had a few in my nearly crepe-less lifetime.
My erroneous intuition -- the main reason I hadn't eaten at Napoleon's before -- was that crepes were either a dessert, or fattening, or both. As you'll read below in my Urbanspoon review, this definitely wasn't true at Napoleon's.
Which is like Alice's Restaurant.
You can get whatever you want there. Meaning, if you want a main meal, crepes, pizzas, soups, salads, and other tasty substantial fare await. So does a thin crepe filled with fruit, or just butter and sugar, with whipped cream on the side, what my granddaughter and I happily ate.
My wife and I will be dining at Napoleon's frequently now. She's thinking of having a "Boomer" woman's discussion group that she started meet there for lunches, as the atmosphere is conducive for conversations.
Read on for more about why we like Napoleon's so much after two visits. Here's my Urbanspoon review:
Napoleon's is our new favorite place to eat in downtown Salem. First visit was two days ago, with my wife, daughter, and five year old granddaughter -- who live in Hollywood, so know what good eating is like.
All of us said "Yum!" to the crepes.
Us three adults are health-minded. We ordered whole wheat crepes, and our server was marvelously flexible with our "could we substitute..." requests. Plus, the server didn't write anything down and still got our orders perfect. That's a sign of good service, as was her promptness and attention to us as we were eating.
The crepes are pleasingly tasty, yet not overly filling.
Each of us ate our entire crepe with relish, including my granddaughter -- who often is a picky eater. She loved her simple butter and sugar crepe. My wife and daughter had whole wheat spinach, mushroom, and brie/feta crepes. They liked them a lot. I had a whole wheat crepe with strawberries and whipped cream on the side. Good, good, good.
Last night my wife and I went back again for a dinner experience. It was equally enjoyable. Pleasant music, subdued elegant (for Salem) atmosphere, tasty food. We had an hour between two dance lessons, so were pleased to again find that we could clean our plates, yet not feel stuffed. Portion sizes are perfect for us. This time I had a whole wheat spinach, mushroom, and brie crepe. My wife and I shared a creative date/orange/lettuce/feta salad. Perfect for a warm summer night.
Being a coffee addict, both times I had their regular coffee, which has a nice strong Italian taste. Last night the server suggested getting the "all you can drink" option: 25 cents more than a 16 ounce coffee, but you get unlimited refills. I had two refills plus half a cup more just to get my money's worth.
All in all, Napoleon's is a great addition to the downtown Salem restaurant scene. The sort-of-new dining area they took over from a furniture place, or whatever it was, is tastefully decorated. Napoleon's could fit in on NW 23rd Street in Portland, my highest compliment.