Being gluten-free can be difficult—no soft, chewy bread, no flour-thickened, glossy gravies, no crêpe…you get the picture.
But Crème de la Crêpe, a little French restaurant on the corner of Elm Avenue and First Street that recently celebrated its 20th year in Long Beach, has a solution: the buckwheat crêpe.
I’ve eaten at the restaurant a few times and have gotten different things each time, but the one thing that immediately caught my eye was the option to get gluten-free crêpe that can be made savory or sweet.
This particular outing, I ordered the Exquise, which came with melted Brie cheese, tomatoes, ham and was topped with a basil sauce. The buckwheat crêpe is large, and the fillings are folding into the center, so there are edges that fold over which don’t have any filling. But the crêpe is still generously stuffed, so while it may not look like it, you feel full by the end of the meal.
I’m not the biggest fan of mushy, diced cooked tomatoes, but the tomatoes were still mostly raw, just warmed up in the pocket of the freshly made crêpe. Which means if you don’t like raw tomatoes, these would probably wouldn’t make the cut. For me, it was perfect.
The cheese and ham worked great together—I mean, it’s a pretty bulletproof combo. The basil sauce on top was like a thinner pesto, but if you’re worried about an overly basil taste, there’s no need because it’s very subtle. It comes with a lightly dressed side salad as well for a total of $17.
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Other options I considered getting were the Normandie with goat cheese, spinach, prosciutto, grilled onion and sour cream and the Parisienne, which comes with chicken breast, Swiss cheese, mushrooms and a béchamel sauce (which usually isn’t gluten-free, so be sure to check with staff if you have an allergy or intolerance).
And perhaps the sweetest news: The buckwheat crêpes can also be used for their dessert crêpe, which means gluten-free eaters can gorge on the sweet dessert with a clear conscience. There’s all the typical fillings like fresh fruit, Nutella and ice cream.
If you don’t have to worry about hunting down gluten-free food, count your blessings, and enjoy all their menu has to offer. There’s quiches, baguette sandwiches, pasta, burgers and much more.
There is indoor and sidewalk seating, and the service is very European, so they don’t pressure you to order, eat or pay quickly, which means if you’re stopping by on a tight schedule, it’s best to have your order and your card ready.
Have you been to Crème de la Crêpe? Is there another spot I should try? Send me your favorite dishes and places around town—to help me figure out where I should go next—at [email protected].
Crème de la Crêpe is located at 400 E. First St.
Editor’s note: This story was updated to correct the location of Crème de la Crêpe.