Oh, Crêpe! There’s A Wait

Beach Haven’s new hot spot for breakfast and lunch draws crowds.

On Long Beach Island, you wait for breakfast.

Outside every place that serves pancakes on LBI, you’ll see families milling about, waiting for a table for four, or three, or, heaven help them, a table for six.

Yet somehow it seems harder to wait at Crêperie De La Mer, Beach Haven’s new hot spot for breakfast and lunch. Maybe it’s because the place is so tiny, with space only for a pair of tables for two toward the back of the room and picnic-style seating by the front window. (You can opt for take-out.)

Crêperie de la Mer

Or maybe it’s because you can see all the crepes being made, one by one, by John Albright, who owns Crêperie De La Mer with his Parisian wife, Nadia Benchohra Albright. The chef-owner mans the griddles like a DJ with two turntables. He flips and folds the batter, nudging it into a thin, golden bundle. You can hear the sizzle, smell the butter, but you cannot taste until it’s your turn. So close, and yet so far.

Owners John Albright and Nadia Benchohra Albright

Luckily, Nadia is a gracious host, chatting with customers as she rings up orders and serves robust coffee made with a French press. “A girl should be two things,” reads a quote from Coco Chanel that decorates one wall, “classy and fabulous.”

And a crêpe should be two things, fresh and delicate. Both the savory and sweet varieties at Crêperie De La Mer meet that criteria. Everything is served warm, with just enough filling tucked into each crêpe.

Try the smoked salmon crêpe, filled with bite-sized pieces of velvety salmon topped with fresh dill and lemon crème fraiche.

Smoked salmon crêpe

The ham, cheese and egg crêpe greets you with the sunny yolk in the center, ready to be squished.

Don’t miss the Brie and pear crêpe, which forges the middle ground between sweet and savory, with walnuts adding heft and a hint of raspberry vinaigrette adding zing. Thin slices of pear alternate with Brie, in harmony.

Brie and pear crêpe

The scent of powdered sugar in the air will make it hard to resist the sweet crêpes, from the big-flavor blast of Nutella and strawberry or mixed berries to an ethereal, refreshing lemon crêpe.

Lemon crêpe

Crêperie De La Mer is compact and cute, with black-and-white tiles behind the counter and the menu written in curlicue script on a blackboard. “Visit Paris,” exhorts a poster on the back wall, with a picture of the Eiffel Tower.

Yes, we all should visit Paris, as often as possible. Meanwhile, LBI and a lemon crêpe will do.

Crêperie De La Mer, 126 North Bay Avenue, Beach Haven. 609-709-7444 or creperiedelamerlbi.com. Hours are 8:30 am to 3 pm every day except Tuesday, year-’round, but check Facebook for updates.

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