The Crepevine Bistro in Pasadena: Ooh la la Magnifique!
When searching for 36 West Colorado, look for the hamburger joint and go down the alley about 10 yards and you will be standing before the Crepevine Bistro and Wine Bar. Do go in for this small, but lovely, restaurant has some very fine and inexpensive treats for the foodie who loves French cooking done right.
There, you will meet the lovely Kate, its owner; James, her bartender and server or any of the other three ladies who smile widely as they bring Chef Siegel's specialties to your table.
The menu is small but each and every item is prepared with care. One of its two pages is dedicated to eleven different kinds of pizza – the paper thin crust kind – all in the $11 – $16 price range. My favorite is the simple cheese and tomato, which is not even listed but was terrific and, according to James, would be eight dollars: a steal!
We began dinner with the bruschetta appetizer: six delicious concoctions on crostini that compare favorably with any I've ever tasted. Fran's apple walnut salad with Roquefort cheese and sherry vinaigrette dressing may have been the largest, most flavorful, ever served at eight dollars – certainly enough to split. My "Classic French Onion" soup has to be the best I can remember since my Jean's Blue Room days. It's loaded with onions, cheese and a piece of sweet bread in a black broth, heavenly to spoon. And it's only five dollars.
Next, we shared a Club Crepe: a huge crepe, filled with ham, tomato, turkey, avocado, bacon and cheese. It melts in your mouth for everything is sliced thin, yet packed full. Another bargain at eleven dollars. We also shared a half butternut squash, half cheese and tomato pizza and we were both sent to Parisian heaven for the taste each of us experienced was simply wonderful. The pizzas are described as Gourmet Flatbread Pizzas, 10 inch diameter. Chef Siegel has a deft touch to all his preparations. My cup of Joe and the raspberry jam crepe were outstanding as we closed out yet another sensational dinner.
You will find French dip and Croque Monsieur sandwiches, Caesar salads, imported cheese plates and steak or tuna tartare on the menu: all at very reasonable prices – all quite satisfying. There's got to be a reason people were standing and waiting for the next table to open.
The Crepevine is just over two years old. With this kind of hospitality, good food and sensible prices, Kate could really keep the place going forever. All you have to remember is to tell 'em Joseph sent you; they like me there! And I like being there!
Crepevine Bistro & Wine Bar, 36 West Colorado Blvd., Pasadena, Tel. 626-796-7250 Open for lunch and dinner Tuesday – Sunday Closed Monday Dinner for two approx. $40 w/o wine. For more information, visit www.thecrepevine.com