By MARK LORENZANA
“The secret to a good crepe is that it should be both fluffy and crunchy.”
One Wednesday afternoon, I was seated at a table across Chris Dollel, the owner of Plaisir Créperie, a newly opened crepe shop in Mexico City’s trendy Colonia Condesa, and tucking into my freshly made Tomás — a savory crepe generously filled with tomato sauce, mozzarella and manchego cheeses, and topped with oregano — when his words hit me: “The secret of a good crepe is that it should be both fluffy and crunchy.”
Truer words have never been spoken.
And so with each mouthful of my Tomás crepe — both fluffy and crunchy, and cheesy! — I couldn’t help but agree.
Dollel knows his crepes.
And for good reason: Before settling in Mexico City for good, he grew up learning the secrets of making a good crepe while helping out in his parents’ family business, a crepe shop in his native Beirut, Lebanon, where — according to Dollel — “It would be rare not to find a crepe place in any neighborhood.”
I learned of Chris’ Plaisir Créperie thanks to my editor, who directed me to the place after raving about it, and who also took care of my first crepe that day. Spoiler alert: It would not be my last crepe in that first visit (believe me, it won’t be my last visit either; I’d already been raving about the place — and the crepes — to my wife).
Without giving much in the way of secrets, though, Dollel told me that he hand-mixes the batter for his crepes instead of using an automatic mixer. He said that with enough crepe-making experience — which he has in spades — under your belt, you know from intuition the perfect consistency of the batter.
So, aside from the batter, what makes Dollel’s crepes better than other crepe shops in Mexico City? “I have more variety in my menu, and my crepes are bigger,” he said. “And I source the best and freshest ingredients.”
I’ve been to several crepe shops here in Mexico City, and the ones whose crepes are up to par with Plaisir’s are often triple the price, but most of them are way smaller. With a Plaisir Créperie crepe, you don’t eat it by hand like a wrap or a taco; you will need a fork and eat it from a plate.
The crepes that are a hit with Mexicans, Dollel said, include the María (mozzarella and manchego cheeses, chorizo and jalapeños) and the Pepe (manchego cheese, jamón serrano, arugula and melon).
Those are both savory crepes, though. For the dessert crepes, Dollel said his bestseller is the Fetuccini – a crepe topped with red fruits, white chocolate and milk chocolate and a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
And so, while I was already stuffed with the savory crepe I just polished off, I decided to order a Fetuccini — after all, there’s always room for dessert.
Dollel cooked the crepe, and when done, he chopped it up into strips and placed them back on the griddle to make them extra crispy. He arranged the crepe strips on a plate, topped them with strawberries, blueberries and blackberries, ladled the dish with a generous serving of melted white and milk chocolate, and, finally, he added a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
No doubt about it, Dollel knows his crepes.
Chris Dollel´s Plaisir Créperie is located at Fernando Montes de Oca 23 in Mexico City’s Colonia Condesa. It’s open from Monday to Sunday, 1 p.m. to 11 p.m.