Park Avenue’s finest
In its 30th year, Kramore Inn’s as fresh as ever
It’s hard to believe that I first heard about this nifty new place serving crepes in Chico 30 years ago. At the time I was not quite sure what a crepe was—something like a pancake, only with fruit rolled up in it, hmm?—and it seemed like a weird thing to eat for dinner. But one night a friend convinced me we should go check it out, and I’ve been enthusiastically returning on a fairly regular basis ever since.
The sculpture-topped building on the corner of 20th Street and Park Avenue doesn’t look particularly large, but once you step inside and get a glimpse of the kitchen and notice the overflow dining area to the left of the entry and are led into the airy, nicely lighted main dining room, you realize the place can easily fill it seating capacity and still seem comfortably uncrowded.
Once the hostess seats you at one of the nicely appointed tables, which are mostly designed to seat four comfortably but also come in configurations to accommodate larger groups and couples, you can sit back and enjoy the nature photography displayed on the walls and inspect the wine list and menu. Water is brought to the table along with some fluffy, crusty French bread.
On our most recent visit, I chose a glass of Bonny Doon Riesling ($5.25) and a chicken and artichoke dinner crepe, which comes with a side of sour cream and a dinner salad ($11.95). My wife chose the almond chicken ($10.95), which also comes with salad.
The Kramore salad is scrumptious, refreshing and appealing to the eye. It arrives on a small plate on which there is also a small side of pickled black beans and a side of cold pasta salad dressed with light vinegar. The salad greens are fresh and dark, and the poppy seed dressing, which I recommend, is a divine mixture of sweet and tart flavor, accented by the crunch of the tiny seeds. Your attentive but unobtrusive server will make sure your water glass is kept full and whisk away the salad plates.The Kramore crepes are as good as anything you’ll get to eat in Chico. The artichoke and chicken version also includes in the filling some perfectly melted cheese along with the bite-sized chunks of white meat and sliced hearts of artichoke, and is burnished to a golden brown on the outside. Slathered with a spoonful of the sour cream accompaniment and sprinkled with a little salt and pepper, the single but substantial crepe makes a perfectly filling dinner.
The almond chicken comes on a bed of rice in a rich, light brown sauce studded with chunks of chicken, almonds, snow peas, mushrooms and—at my wife’s request—some minced garlic and onion. Very tasty; and the portion is generous enough to provide lunch the following day to all but the heartiest trencherman.
It’s worth mentioning that the kitchen is politely accommodating to customers with special-needs diets. My wife who is gluten ( a component of wheat and most other common grains) intolerant as well has allergic to vegetables of the nightshade family, which includes potatoes, tomatos and peppers of all types, was able to fine-tune the ingredients of her cashew chicken and salad to achieve a tasty and trouble-free mix of flavors.
For those left with room to enjoy dessert, the Kramore offers several fine dessert crepes, of which the most divine is the chocolate mousse. The crepe is softly wrapped around a generous dollop of richly flavored chocolate filling, then topped with whipped cream and garnished with sliced almonds. Washed down with a cup of coffee, it’s the perfect ending to a lovely meal.