Bistro Maxine - Crepes in Palo Alto
Last night M and I needed some dessert after a healthy dinner of brown rice sushi at Homma's, so we headed over to Bistro Maxine in Palo Alto. It's on Ramona, off University, a few doors south of Coupa Cafe/ across the street from Nola. A big front window, high ceilings, yellow creamy walls, and a chill soundtrack make for a pleasant ambiance in a small space - they have a couple of tables and chairs outside too.
The lunch and dinner menu encompasses salads, savory, and dessert crepes. They have buckwheat and white flour options. They offer coffee drinks, beer and wine, and they also sell cider. (My apologies, I did't really look over the wine menu)
M initially wanted a strawberry crepe, which we had had the previous time, but they buy strawberries at the Saturday morning farmer's market and thus didn't have any. So M opted for a apple cinnamon crepe with caramel sauce and I chose a banana nutella crepe. Both were delicious and generously sized. I only had a bite of M's apple crepe, but it was well put together, the touch of cinnamon and the sweet caramel sauce highlighted the buttery apple filling. I particularly liked my banana crepe with its perfect interplay of textures, sticky nutella, chunky banana, a crisped outside and chewy interior.
The two people working there were gracious, answering questions and refilling our water glasses promptly.
I'm a little worried about them though! We were there for at least an hour on a warm Friday night, and we were the only customers during that time. I'm not sure if it is the location or the newness - it is just not on peoples' list of places yet.
I think it would be a nice choice for lunch or dinner - savory crepe and a side salad. There is a goat cheese, walnut. and honey one that I plan to try. It's definitely an excellent place for dessert in a city that's a little short on dessert places. Please go buy a crepe.
I recommend the crepes at Bistro Maxine. The white flour crepes are perfectly "al dente" - they have a "spring" to them. I've tried crepes at Coupa Cafe (next door), Crepes Cafe (Menlo Park), Noras Cafe (Midtown PA), Douce France (Palo Alto), and Crepe Maker (Los Altos), and I think Bistro Maxine has the best of the lot. A few guidelines:
- Unlike what their web page says, they open at 8 AM, not 7 AM.
- There are three crepes that I recommend: The Suzette, the egg/ham/cheese, and the goat cheese/honey/walnut crepe. For the goat cheese/honey/walnut, I suggest asking for half the usual amount of goat cheese - otherwise the cheese overwhelms the crepe, and tends to squirt out the sides when you eat it.
- Their mochas are really good, and very large, but they tend to arrive lukewarm. It's best to ask for them "extra hot." They also have a spicy variation on the mocha, which I think includes some chili pepper; however, that tends to add "heat" but not much "flavor", so I don't recommend it.
Their breakfast special is a good deal; it includes fresh squeezed orange juice, an espresso drink, and a crepe.