On its website, Crepes Bistro advertises its vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free cuisine. But one doesn’t have to follow such diets to appreciate the cut-no-corners quality of the wholesome offerings at this casual dining restaurant in Santa Clara. Freshly-made juice, smoothies, soups, salads, acai bowls and savory and sweet crepes fill the menu.
“Coming from a Middle Eastern background, we’re big on food, and having food with our family over home cooked meals,” said Samir Irani, who co-owns Crepes Bistro with Musab Oudat. “I used to help my mom sometimes in the kitchen. She uses all fresh ingredients. Some of our recipes here belong to me and Musab’s mothers. The soup of the day — the red lentil soup — is our mothers’ recipe and one of our bestsellers.”
According to Irani, Crepes Bistro has been open for four years, but he and Oudat took over the restaurant about two-and-a-half years ago. Under the new management, the concept of the restaurant has remained the same. But the new owners revised a number of systems, such as food preparation, hiring, customer outreach and marketing.
“Our portions are a good size,” Irani said. “Almost 99 percent of our sauces are made in-house. For example, our lemon tahini sauce, which is what we’re most famous for, is made in-house. This sauce goes into our crepes, salad and fries. Our crepe batter is egg-free and dairy-free and made in house with gluten-free options.”
Irani explained that his restaurant’s acai bowls are considered “super food.” Originating from Brazil, the acai berry is supposed to carry health sustaining properties.
“We have three kinds of acai bowls,” Irani said. “Our acai bowls gets you all hydrated and full of energy. All our acai bowls are made from scratch. We blend our acai with apples, pineapples, spinach and protein. When we blend it, it tastes like frozen yogurt or ice-cream. We put granola on top. The granola contains raisins. We also put fresh fruit and honey or agave on top.”
Irani describes his eating habits as “healthy.”
“I like to keep active and eat as much fresh and organic food as possible,” he said. “We want to offer nutritious fresh food to our customers, whether they are vegetarian, vegan, on a gluten-free diet or a meat lover. I consider myself part-time vegan.”
Crepes Bistro extends itself to the community by allowing customers to share their business cards and event flyers on a corkboard. The restaurant also connects with the community by supporting local artists.
“We try to get local artists to put up their art in the bistro,” Irani said. “That way, people can know who they are. If someone wants to buy a piece of art we’re putting up, they can buy it directly from the artist. We don’t take any profit.”
Presently, the paintings in watercolor realism up on the mango walls of Crepes Bistro belong to Peter Carey. Carey also painted a mural by the restaurant’s cashier area that features lifelike images of Irani and Oudat.
Crepes Bistro is located at 57 Washington St., between Linden Dr. and Newhall St.