Brunch all day
Danielle’s Village Creperie3535B Fair Oaks Blvd.
Sacramento, CA 95864
I wouldn’t know what dinner is like at Danielle’s Crêperie. Not only does it close a bit too early for me to eat a supper there—2 p.m., 3 p.m., 8 p.m. or 9 p.m., depending on the day—but its brunch special is almost too good of a deal to pass up, even at 7 p.m. on a Wednesday night.
Danielle’s is located in a shopping plaza near the busy intersection of Fair Oaks Boulevard and Watt Avenue in the southwest corner of the Arden Park neighborhood. As Yelpers have pointed out, it does seem to attract somewhat of an older crowd, but that doesn’t really say anything about the food. Neither do the somewhat kitschy pieces of art and sculptures that adorn the large dining area. More telling is the fact that there are lots of breakfast and lunch options on the menu (pancakes, waffles, omelets, quiches, crepes, sandwiches) and diners can order them at any time of day.
A brief trip to Paris earlier this year piqued an interested in traditional French food, so my dining partner and I started there for a recent weekend brunch: a bowl of French onion soup, escargot and a chocolate crepe with berries. The French onion soup was one of the best I’ve tasted in town, with a hefty pile of soft onions sitting in a beefy broth with a large crouton and a layer of gooey cheese on top. The escargot—served without the snail shell—oozed flavor due to a copious amount of garlic-butter sauce, and despite being overly chewy. The chocolate crepe seemed a lot larger than ones found in Paris, and could’ve made for an entire (sugary) meal itself. It tasted good, but a Nutella filling option would also be nice.
On a different day, we sampled a Danielle Favor Crêpe (with a combination of ratatouille and beef bourguignon inside) and a Crab and Spinach Crêpe. Choosing to make the meal a Daily Brunch Special ($14.25) yields, in addition to a crepe or omelet: a croissant, orange juice or fruit, and coffee or tea—and a choice of adding bottomless champagne or mimosas for just $4 more.
The Danielle Favor Crêpe suffered from an identity crisis. While the beef bourguignon half sported a hearty richness, the ratatouille half detracted from the overall comfort of the dish. And, because ratatouille is a vegetable stew with tomatoes, it sort of tasted like mixing an Italian dish with a French one. They’re probably individually better than the sum of their parts suggests. The Crab and Spinach Crêpe, on the other hand, turned out to be my favorite menu item. I chose a spicy cornmeal batter in lieu of the traditional white-flour batter. With crab meat, spinach, garlic and a cheesy French Mornay sauce, the crepe seemed like rich haute cuisine at a bargain price.
Lastly, we sampled a Specialty Crêpe Omelet (scrambled eggs, meat and veggies inside a crepe), a poached chicken sandwich and a soup of the day—which happened to be a cream of tomato soup with bacon. Compared to the other crepes sampled earlier, the omelet crepe seemed to lack flavor. The chicken sandwich—chicken, bell peppers, feta cheese, olives and vinaigrette dressing on a French baguette—was architecturally sound, with each ingredient adding texture and flavor to its carefully layered structure.
Overall, Danielle’s is a solid spot for breakfast or brunch at any time of the day. It also serves fine traditional French food. There’s a small wine rack with a few options, but no beer. Its staff is very polite and offers helpful pointers on choosing from the large menu. Still, it’s a neighborhood spot that definitely clings to its regular customer base and old menu items rather than creating innovative and exciting daily specials.