Crepes are highly underrated. I’m still waiting for crepes to become the “next big thing” in food trends. And with the current American fascination with food trucks continuing to fill every corner of town, a crepe truck seems to be a pretty brilliant combination. I’ve had the pleasure of eating at some really excellent crepe establishments, both truck and brick-and-mortar. Joints stuffing the delicate, thin crepe with both savory and sweet ingredients, everything from sliced ribeye and provolone to Korean beef bulgogi…pork chorizo, queso blanco and egg to mascarpone cheese with chocolate and caramel. Crepes provide a perfect light vessel for a nearly unlimited variety of fillings, and can easily be served up during breakfast, lunch, or dinner. One thing is certain, crepes are not just for the French anymore.
Where does one enjoy crepes in the Little Rock area? One place you might not expect to snuggle up with this French classic is at a Brazilian restaurant. Nonetheless, crepe lovers can get their fix at Café Bossa Nova, a Little Rock institution that has made its mark on the Arkansas dining scene by offering quality, hand-made food unlike anyone else in the area.
The “panquecas de frango” are Brazilian crepes offered as one of Bossa Nova’s house specialties at lunch or breakfast. The dish takes thin, soft crepes and stuffs them with finger-shredded chicken that has been marinated and roasted to tender, juicy perfection. The crepes are tightly rolled around the chicken, forming long, taquito-like structures. The crepes are smothered in a sauce made from Catupiry cheese, a popular mild-tasting Brazilian cream cheese that is not terribly rich or heavy, but still remains flavorful enough that you’ll want to lick every last drop off your plate. They are served resting on a bed of fluffy white rice and accompanied by a citrus salada mista, made with spinach, bitter greens, sliced nuts, oranges, and dried fruit. It’s a perfect lunch combination. Not so heavy you’ll want to crawl up under your desk for a nap when you get back to the office, but filling enough to fend off the hunger goblins until dinnertime. At around $16 dollars a pop, however, it’s a lunch that won’t be finding itself on anyone’s ‘value menu’ anytime soon. But I guess if you are eating at Bossa Nova, you kinda know what you are getting yourself into. Besides, after a basket of their legendary cheese bread, your troubles quickly melt away and you are mentally on a sunny beach in Rio, far, far away from the daily grind of life and it’s many terrible responsibilities.