Crepes are not something one associates with Japan, but, as a placard on the wall at Love Via Crepes compendiously informs us, it is a street food that traveled the oceans a century back. And like most things co-opted by the Japanese, it came back cute as the dickens—their statement of purpose proclaims them not only a tasty treat but “a symbol of one’s love for another” and invites customers to “share a love-filled crepe.” This last phrase, somehow, is not creepily suspicious but charming.
The crepes themselves are delicately thin, and more firm than eggy; the dessert and to-go orders come folded into a bright pink paper cone that can be conveniently peeled back as you eat. The entire tiny bistro, as it goes, is every bit as pinkwashed as a Susan G. Komen fundraiser.
A number of savory crepes are on offer with mushroom sauce, teriyaki or a variety of mayos, but the texture of the crepes lends itself much better to the sweet offerings—a round reversal of my usual crepe predilections. The natural chewiness of a nonetheless well-spiced Korean-style bulgogi beef cone ($5.95) made it difficult to eat on the run; a spicy salmon eaten in-house ($5.95) fared much better—it came in a folded square unlikely in its precision, and yielded easily to the fork—but tasted a bit canned. The ham and eggs ($5.95), though, were great, and lent a needed softness to the affair.
But the real show-stoppers are the overstuffed sweet crepes ($5.45), with a scoop of Tillamook ice cream nestled amid your choice of Nutella, Reese’s peanut butter, almonds, anko, custard, Oreo, fresh fruit or lord knows what else: It is a cornucopian vision of sweetness that surprisingly never cloys. If it is love, it is the love felt in curious childhood, when everything is new.
- Order this: Green tea ice cream and strawberries (who knew?) are wonderful together. So get the Harajuku Sweet ($5.45) with green tea.
- Best deal: Free! Mondays and Wednesdays or at the owner’s friendly volition, each order nets you a token for a little machine-poured cup of hyperactively sweet-sour citron tea, milk coffee, or—my favorite—a sweet-bitter Job’s Tears tea.
- I’ll pass: Just don’t get the spicy tuna or spicy salmon with wasabi mayo; regular mayo will do, and your sinuses will thank you by functioning.
EAT: Love Via Crepes, 1019 SW 23rd Ave., 688-5570, loveviacrepes.com. 11 am–9 pm Monday-Saturday. $.