On a good day, Stony Point Fashion Park is sleepy. And after the holiday rush, the mall seems like a ghost town. Yet, on a corner that seems especially quiet, nestled between spaces formerly occupied by Starbucks and Three Dogs Bakery, Les Crepes offers a treat to shoppers.
Though small, the restaurant manages to fit more than a dozen tables. With coffee-colored walls, various Paris-inspired touches and an array of modern-meets-corporate furniture, the place feels warm, in a generic hotel lobby way. The smooth jazz soundtrack evokes an intimate boardroom vibe, and although the result isn’t quite French, it’s a different choice for Stony Point shoppers among predominately chain-restaurant offerings.
My server underscores this and is quick to explain that it’s the only crêperie in the Richmond area. Lunch is lively — almost full during my weekday visit — with the exuberant chatter of women taking up almost every table. Dinner is quieter, but I see several shoppers passing by who stop to read the menu posted on the door.
The bill of fare at both lunch and dinner features a lengthy list of sweet and savory crepes. Many dishes can be made gluten-free and I discern no difference in taste. All of the crepes, full of gluten or not, are the perfect texture — lighter than naan, thicker than tortillas, sweet like pancakes and with delectably crispy edges.
Possibly my favorite aspect of this place: Because breakfast crepes are served all day, an impromptu brunch can happen on a Tuesday evening. Order a mimosa and a french breakfast crepe ($9.50) with a soft, perfectly cooked egg scramble with asparagus, ham, mushrooms and provolone. Or try the poached eggs ($8.50), served in a cleverly creased crepe bowl covered in melted cheese. Les Crepes ($7.90) is the bacon, egg and cheese crepe alternative for the breakfast sandwich lover.
For dinner, something with more substance, such as the hearty cowboy crepe ($13.90), is filled with grilled tenderloin steak, slivers of sautéed zucchini, greens and caramelized onions. The steak is tender and juicy, although the accompanying zucchini shreds could benefit from a more flavorful sauce.
I jab a fork into the carbonara crepe ($11.90) and find pieces of chicken breast and egg bathing in a light and creamy alfredo sauce — a succulent surprise. The fragrant pesto on top gives each bite a zesty finish. The lobster and crab crepe ($18.50) overpowers a few tough pieces of crabmeat with a thick fishy sauce that tastes as if it oozed out of a can. I’ll take a pass on that next time.
The crêperie boasts more than a dozen dessert offerings and this is where Les Crepes shines. While it may not yield flawless dinner options, the chef’s apparent stuff-anything-into-a-crepe-and-see-what-happens method works well when applied to dessert. The kitchen’s most creative choices seem to be all hiding on this page of the menu.
First, I try the tiramisu crepe ($9.90), which is what you might think it would be — a generous, drippy dollop of the classic Italian dessert folded within a light crepe. With a liberal dose of espresso and many mouthfuls of fluffy mascarpone, this could be a meal itself. Ideal for sharing, the mousse au chocolat ($9.90) is a heavenly chocolate daydream. The plate arrives with three generous scoops of rich chocolate mousse cradled in the folds of a chocolate crepe accompanied by Instagram-worthy strawberries carved to resemble roses.
Much of the menu is simple but abundantly satisfying. The restaurant successfully pulls off transforming French dishes into accessible comfort food staples. And with a varied wine list and full coffee bar, it doubles as a convenient recovery spot after a fruitless venture in the Anthropologie sale room. You might stop in because you’re looking for a Chipotle alternative at the mall, but you should stay for the comfortable atmosphere and a puffy bite of breakfast, any time of the day. S
9200 Stony Point Parkway
Mondays-Thursdays 11 a.m.-9 p.m.; Fridays and Saturdays 10 a.m.-9:30 p.m.; Sundays 10 a.m.-6 p.m.