First Taste

Houston's new crepe shop is experience dining: Step into a secret dessert hideaway

Houston's new crepe shop is experience dining: Step into a secret dessert hideaway

Sweet Paris, crepes, French industrial, chandelier
Sweet Paris is experience dining. Sweet Paris/Facebook
Sweet Paris, crepes
The crepes might not be among the best you've ever tasted, but the atmosphere at Sweet Paris makes up for it. Photo by Sarah Rufca
Sweet Paris, crepes, Eifel Tower
Photo by Sarah Rufca
Sweet Paris, crepes
Photo by Sarah Rufca
Sweet Paris, crepes, French industrial, chandelier
Sweet Paris, crepes
Sweet Paris, crepes, Eifel Tower
Sweet Paris, crepes

It's easy to miss the glass-and-iron entrance to Sweet Paris, sitting slightly recessed off Rice Boulevard in Rice Village. Once inside, the clean, cotton-candy-colored shop feels like a delightful secret haven.

Houston's newest crepe shop makes the most of its long and narrow space, separating the chalkboard-backed ordering and kitchen area from the trés cute dining room. Smallish white marble tables, chandeliers encased in iron spheres and exposed white brick mix minimalism with shabby chic touches to great effect.

This is Eating As Experience, which I loosely define as any meal that removes you from the hustle of Houston and creates a renewed sensation that separates it from the rest of your day, whether through flavor or atmosphere (preferably both).

 This is Eating As Experience, which I loosely define as any meal that removes you from the hustle of Houston and creates a renewed sensation that separates it from the rest of your day. 

The menu of sweet and savory crepes is moderate and sticks mostly to classic formulas: Turkey with grapes and brie, caprese with truffle oil, cinnamon and sugar, nutella and banana (or strawberry, or both).

Starting with the most elementary of all savory crepes, the ham and mozzarella was dominated by a creamy, slightly thin mix of bechamel and mozzarella. The cubes of ham could have been a bit bigger and more plentiful — in a trip to real city of Paris, the ham slices were thick and practically bulged out of the crepe.

On the sweet side, a Very Berry Creme Brulee offered a pancake that had a bit of sweet waffle cone flavor to it, and although the promised notes of vanilla were pretty mild, the mix of strawberries and blueberries with a touch of whipped cream on the side was so simple and satisfying that it's hard to complain about what it was lacking.

With sweet crepes starting at $5.50, it's a slightly more expensive dessert splurge than neighboring cupcake or ice cream shops, but for something new and different (and splitable), I think it's worth it.

When it comes to bold flavors, Sweet Paris can't touch Melange Creperie, the roaming crepe carts that like to play with the format, adding bacon to a nutella banana crepe and including "Mango Hot Pepper Jam with Cream Cheese and Fried Wonton" on the ever-changing menu.

That's the thing about Sweet Paris. The crepes might fall short of being really interesting or superlative (though I reserve the right to change by mind with I try the s'mores crepe), but they are still solidly yummy.

Combine that with the slightly upscale cute factor, and what more do you really want?