City Paper is not for tourists
The Dish: “Leila” crêpe sandwich
The Location: Crepeaway, 2001 L Street NW, (202) 973-0404.
The Price: $4.40
The Skinny: The interior at Crepeaway looks like a decorator’s idea of a bad joke. Molded, canary-yellow chairs, the kind considered “space-age” in the ’70s, give off an Easter-egg vibe against the pastel-purple walls, a color I thought dead and buried along with the Greg Kihn Band. A light, smoky haze hovers over the room, the result of several griddles operating without the benefit of a range hood. The downtown operation’s sole selling point comes off those blazing griddles: sweet and savory crêpes, the sort of folded sandwiches sold on the streets of Athens, Greece, where the owners of Crepeaway started their business. There’s nothing fancy about these pancakes: The batter is stretched paper-thin on a griddle, sprinkled with Sysco-quality ingredients, folded into a fan-like shape, stuffed into a paper cone, and dropped unceremoniously into a plastic yellow basket. I tried two different savory crêpes (which are named after the owner’s friends and relatives). The “Mikey,” a Chipotle-chicken-burrito knock-off without the beans and rice, proves to be a furnace of jalapeños, which incinerates the delicacy of the crêpe. Far better is the “Leila,” the joint’s version of a Margherita pizza, stuffed with mozzarella, basil chiffonade, and tomato slices. Those Italian flavors are given a welcome French twist with the milky, eggy, and toothsome pancake. The only odd note is the hint of vanilla in the batter, which I suspect works better in Crepeaway’s sweet concoctions.