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Crepaway Diner, Lebanon
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Lunch with my Kids at Crepaway
Lebanon’s Crepaway has a new menu... after big changes last year the casual eatery - which I had considered to be more an international diner - has transformed itself. I was invited tonight with a handful of customers and instagrammers for the menu launch. Crepaway is introducing several new items in effort to reaffirm the restaurant chain as a "casual restaurant". Metallic platters, colorful presentations, big soft drinks glasses, young waiters... a change that feels fresh and looks like a sexy new age "diner".
Invited for a big launch event which gathered more than 400 guests over a few days, I had the chance to be one of the first to try this new menu.
The Mexican fiesta dip: a watery mix of chicken strips in Mexican spices with creamy white beans and corn under a thick crust of baked cheese mix with salsa fresca. Served with nachos and ciabatta bread slices. Good flavor but unfortunately an overdose of garlic - smell and flavor - spoiling the Mexican spices and real flavors of this dish. I'd remove the bread, thicken the sauce and eliminate the garlic.
Crispy cheddar bites: double cheddar and crispy turkey in breaded bites served with ranch dip. Felt like nothing more than triangles of grilled cheese. Crispy outer but missing texture and missing flavor within. If they're counting on the ranch dip to add this missing flavor, I’m not sure it’s a good idea. The cheese triangles need a crunch, probaly jalapeno, pickles or crispy bacon.
Bang bang chicken: marinated grilled chicken tenders on skewers, glazed with sweet chili mango, drizzled with bang bang sauce and sprinkled with green onion and potato chips. The best of the three, a - not so moist - chicken skewer, beautifully glazed and mixed with a blend of sweetness and flavor, a great balance of ingredients and textures. I enjoyed this.
The main course:
Portobello burger: baked fresh portobello mushroom filled with cheese and green leaves, topped with Parmesan and laid on pesto mayo, roquette leaves grilled tomatoes and onion. Soft, tender, moist and innovative. It would be a great option if the burger bun was toasted and buttered on the inside, it’s too watery and moist.
Bruce lee burger: pulled beef in Asian sauce with green onion and sesame, a spread of garlic mayo, Edam and mozzarella cheeses crispy noodles, lettuce, tomato and pickles. Without mentioning the garlic which doesn’t fit in a meat sandwich or burger let’s move to the beef... hard textured beef when it should be as smooth as butter stuffed into a hard chewy bread when it should be softer than a pillow. A kick of extreme spiciness follows you around for minutes. Finally the fries are too salty to be enjoyed!
Shitake furikake: sautéed fresh shitake mushrooms with fusilli pasta and four cheese sauce sprinkled with paprika and furikake. A nice pasta plate - although I’d cook it less- with cheese prepared the American way. My kids would have loved it.
Old school ribs: grilled pork ribs glazed with barbecue sauce served with fries and coleslaw. Small ribs, a sweet and enjoyable barbecue sauce but meat that’s not as tender as I expect it to be. Oops! The coleslaw is warm and acidic, shouldn’t it be cold and sweet?
Casual butter chicken: chicken tikka and bell pepper skewers sprinkled with peanuts and coriander served with peas and raisins, pilaf rice, butter chicken sauce and poppadoms. Tender juicy chicken but hard crunchy bell peppers. An interesting spiced rice on the side, a flavorful butter chicken sauce and crunchy poppadoms. It’s the biggest of the dishes and most filling, one of the few I enjoyed to the last mouthful. It provided a journey of flavors which was missing in all the other dishes.
Desserts! These are good!
Lucia crepe: cream cheese and dulce de lèche topped with vanilla ice cream, drizzled with chocolate sauce and sprinkled with shortbread crumble. Wow, it's complicated indeed, not your average crepe, too many emotions hidden inside! I loved it!
Lola Colada crepe: custard cream with banana and grilled pineapple slices drizzled with special tropical coconut sauce and sprinkled with crushed hazelnut. Even though the crepe itself was chewy, I loved the ingredients creating this crepe. A very good and very innovative crepe.
All That Chocolate: layers of chocolate fudge, chocolate wafer crisps, peanut butter cream and Nutella ice cream, topped with a drizzle of Nutella and a sprinkle of hazelnut. It’s a kicker, a marvelous creation, a mouth watering dessert. Only if it looked bigger and more generous it would have made it all over social media. Cake, biscuit, ice cream...
Frosty Forest: marbled cream cheese glacé and cherries between layers of chocolate cake topped with grated chocolate. A yummy treat!
A bit too complicated for a Crepaway menu... Do I like it, honestly not. Did I feel transported, surely not. Would it make me want to visit again, nope. I cannot understand this new direction.
I enjoyed the desserts tonight. Wishing Crepaway bright days and success in launching their new menu.