he only entrée dish, the sweet or savory crêpe ($6-8), is no timid affair here, and is just as her fans fondly remember from NE Alberta: The butter-kissed, tender batter is griddled just blonde and carries a payload that would satisfy all but the most grandstanding of trenchermen. Savory fillings are comfortingly traditional, ranging from a slightly salty domestic prosciutto and Gruyère—the apotheosis of the form, in my estimation—to variations on jammy, marsala-soaked melted figs, wilted-in-the-dish fresh spinach, onions caramelized to the brink of structural collapse, thick, flaked smoked salmon, sautéed mushrooms, and warm goat cheese. Add an over-easy egg for a dollar and complete the breakfast sketch.
Vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options feature prominently in the assortment. Rains coaxes enough flavor from her figs, onions, and mushrooms to approximate the richness of a classic crêpe—and swaps out cheese and crème fraîche with a smooth roasted garlic and chickpea spread—but diners on restricted diets may find the sweet side of the menu more rewarding.
As one would hope, the namesake crêpe suzette ($7) is a beautiful thing. Executed flawlessly, its picture-perfect supremes of orange are expertly free of any rind, pith, or seed and bursting with fresh citrus flavor. They are strewn with a lavish hand over a plain sweet crêpe, which is then treated to a generous saucing of Grand Marnier, the raw taste of alcohol carefully flamed away so that only the mature orange essence of the liqueur remains. The amandine ($7.50), a gestalt-attaining marzipan crêpe completed with hand-sliced and toasted almonds, wildflower honey ice cream, chocolate sauce, and cider-poached apples, showcases Rains' meticulous care with the simplest of ingredients. The gem-like fruits that appear in her desserts are lovingly manicured, marinated, cooked to fork tender, and displayed with artful pride.
The sleeper hit of the menu is Suzette's house-made ice cream. If you do not sense much room at the inn after the sizable entrée, at least do yourself the favor of sampling a two-scoop bowl (mixing encouraged). Available during our visits were wildflower honey, cinnamon, and crème fraîche varieties, and each succeeded at isolating and subtly amplifying an idealized yet still-natural form of its signature flavor.
A compact but sagely edited menu of bistro wines, beers (draft and bottle), and ciders is well matched to the food. Happy-hour offerings ($3 crêpes, $1 beer and $4 house wine) hint at the pleasures of the full menu.
Suzette, a victory in any incarnation, is an embodiment of vision, persistence, and considered hospitality. Relax in the company of your companions, enjoy this sturdy bistro fare, and smile as you realize that in a carefully designed, unguarded moment, the wine has washed over you just so.- Chris Onstad
Happy Hour Info: Tue-Fri 4pm-6pm
$3 food menu with soups, salads, and mini crepes. $3 pints, $4 wines, $5 daily cocktail.