Dining » Dining Review

Alexa's answers the call for pierogis, crepes

It's a special spot in the Spa City.

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PACKED WITH TASTE: The pierogis, which in come in so many varieties they fill a page on Alexa's menu.
  • PACKED WITH TASTE: The pierogis, which in come in so many varieties they fill a page on Alexa's menu.

Sometimes the building a restaurant is in can tell you something about what's inside. Maybe it's a renovated version of an old downtown haunt, built with hipster care. Maybe columns or hoity-toity decor hint at a level of undeserved pretension. And sometimes you can find a one-of-a-kind place in a nondescript strip mall. Alexa's Creperie is one such restaurant, found a good distance away from the often-congested Central Avenue.

On the Sunday morning we visited, three warm, friendly hosts wearing matching red Alexa's T-shirts greeted us in this bright, clean and cheerful space, its decor on the charming side of kitschy. Large murals provide sea views from a lush Mediterranean-style courtyard with 3D paper butterflies flittering about. It's obvious that the owners and staff take pride in their restaurant.

That pride extends to the food. An entire page of the menu is dedicated to pierogies, so we figured they must be special. We opted for the pork version ($7.49 for six, $9.49 for 12).

Six prim and perfectly crimped golf-ball-sized pouches came huddled together, brushed with garlic butter and sprinkled with lightly fried minced garlic. Sour cream and balsamic vinegar for dipping came on the side. We recommend having a little of both with each bite, though the pork filling enveloped in a hearty, elastic dough is tasty on its own.

Like the pierogies, the fresh crepes were everything we wanted them to be. They're not complicated or fussy, but attention has been given to every detail. The crepe batter is a neutral backdrop that allows the fresh ingredients, sweet or savory, to shine.

The No. 1 ($9.95) comes with sauteed mushrooms and onions, Swiss cheese and scrambled eggs. We added prosciutto and spinach ($1.45 each). The No. 3 ($9.99) is filled with sauteed green peppers and onions, tomatoes, spinach and cheddar cheese with two slices of bacon on top. Each comes with a choice of sauce — Mediterranean or Hollandaise. We opted for the former. It's sour cream-based with basil, garlic, olive oil and fresh herbs, and came highly recommended. The sauce was nice, although the crepes were so good we kept forgetting to use it.

The crepes were as good as those we've had across the pond — satisfying and filling, but not heavy. And that's good because you'll want to try a sweet one for dessert.

AMERICANOS AND MORE: Alexa's has a good coffee menu.
  • AMERICANOS AND MORE: Alexa's has a good coffee menu.

We had Alexa's favorite ($9.25), which is highlighted on the menu and pictured on the cover. It's a folded and plump triangle stuffed with fresh strawberries, blackberries and lightly sweetened whipped cream, and topped with fresh blueberries, a dusting of powdered sugar and sugar crystals, with a drizzle of strawberry compote.

Even with a large group that came in for lunch, our server was attentive and helpful. The owner checked in on us a couple of times throughout our meal. It's a real family affair at Alexa's. We had both a meal and an experience of a culture and food that the Polyakov family takes pleasure in sharing.

Alexa's Creperie
173 Marion Anderson Road
Hot Springs
501-760-4799
alexascreperie.com

Quick bite

The pierogies come in a vegetarian version filled with buttery mashed potatoes, onions and sauteed mushrooms ($6.49 for six, $8.49 for 12). They're hearty and good. If you like coffee, there's a great coffee menu as well. An Americano ($3.50) gave us just the jolt we needed. Tuna and ham sandwiches available as well.

Hours

9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Other info

Credit cards accepted, no alcohol.

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