Crepes aren’t just a breakfast place at this new Barrington bistro. Rather, the fluffy treat has become the centerpiece of a mouthwatering menu.
Kathy Cappas wants to change impressions. The owner of Epicure Bistro, 718 W. Northwest Highway in Barrington, wants diners to experience crepes as savory entrees, not simply desserts. And, she wants diners to know that a trip into Chicago isn’t necessary to get a great bistro dining experience; it can be found right in Barrington.
Cappas fell in love with crepes as a child when her family frequented an Oak Brook creperie called the Magic Pan.
“The crepes were delicious and unique,” recalls Cappas. “I’d never had anything like it anywhere. I fell in love with crepes – the soft, spongy texture. I always thought that if I had the resources and opportunity, I’d love to open a creperie of my own.”
Her dream came true in 2005 with La Petite Creperie in Woodstock. But when the Barrington resident saw the old location of the Barrington Country Bistro become vacant, she decided to bring her restaurant closer to home.
Epicure Bistro, which opened in May 2015, has retained many familiar faces from Cappas’ previous restaurant.
“The entire kitchen staff transferred, as well as the core wait staff, from the Woodstock location,” Cappas says.
Former regulars at the Barrington Country Bistro should expect a very different experience at Cappas’ new creation.
“I definitely want to create my own thing here,” she says. “We’re not trying to be the former restaurant at all. I have my own identity, my own signature. I’m tapping into what I fell in love with, in a restaurant, as a kid.”
What she fell in love with were the crepes, an adaptable actor in the kitchen that has been typecast in many palettes.
“People think of them as a dessert, but they’re so versatile,” Cappas says. “People misunderstand that a crepe can be a savory meal as well as a dessert.”
Cappas points to savory crepes on her menu like La Pagnol, which combines a ratatouille (stewed vegetables), with sautéed chicken and goat cheese. There’s also the La Bourguignone, a crepe with beef slowly braised in red wine and complemented with carrots, mushrooms and pearl onions.
“If you’re going to try a crepe to get a sense of what a meal a crepe can be, those are the ones to try,” she says. “Or, my favorite is La Country with pancetta, which is a little bit salty, paired with aged brie, which has a sweet, nutty flavor. And then you have the earthiness of the sauteed mushrooms and spinach; that is so good.”
While the crepes are the signature dishes, there are many other options on the eclectic, upscale menu.
“We have lots of choices from an eclectic array of backgrounds, but the menu isn’t so big that it’s overwhelming,” Cappas says. “It’s a unique culinary menu with things like salad nicoise, homemade crab cakes, beef wellington, duo of duck leg confit, wild game entrees. Very uncommon, unique dishes. You see these entrees in the city, but you don’t always see them in the suburbs. There is the uncommon part of the menu but then the other part of it with very approachable choices that are more common. Of course we have lots of crepes, but I don’t want to be thought of as just a crepe place. We’re so much more.”
Epicure Bistro is open Tuesday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Friday and Saturday to 9:30 p.m., and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.