If you only think “fruit,” “nutella,” and maybe “cheese” when brainstorming potential fillings for crepes, Cocos Crepes & Coffee will certainly expand your purview. This chain creperie explicitly seeks to “serve the heart of Paris with the love of Rome,” a claim that translates as far as I can tell into delivering authentically prepared French-style crepes and waffles stuffed and topped with imaginative combinations of ingredients as well as gelato and assorted panini common to trattoria in Italy’s capital.
See, for example, the crepes and waffles portion of the menu, which includes standard sweet and savory options such as strawberries with caramel, chocolate sauce, and whipped cream as well as brie with roasted almonds. But there’s much more beyond those tried-and-true iterations, and adventurous diners and/or crepes connoisseurs tired of tradition should try the more innovative offerings. The Moroccan sausage crepe loaded with mozzarella, mushrooms, sun-dried tomato pesto, and caramelized onions is a delightfully hearty hybrid of Mediterranean and Gallic flavors (the French version of the calzone, mayhaps?). In turn, the cheesecake crepe is even more delicious than it sounds as the slab of dense cheesecake packaged in the lovely dough envelope is rendered even more decadent with toppings with peaches, oreo crumbles, caramel sauce, raspberries, and/or whipped cream. Finally, waffles, made from plain, whole wheat, or gluten-free batter, are less impressive than the dense, delicate crepes albeit still satisfying, especially if you’re game to dress them with both the sweet and the savory, e.g. peaches with ricotta cheese.
Standout panini at Coco’s include the aromatic botanical grilled chicken with goat cheese, Kalamata olives, spinach, red peppers, and harissa aioli and the brunch-worthy smoked salmon with capers and cream cheese. All panini benefit from Coco’s use of quality fresh bread, whose soft inner flesh becomes a lovely complement to the pleasant outer toasted texture that comes from a quick squeeze from a well-oiled grill press.
Those who prefer to customize their order should take advantage of Coco’s “make-your-own-crepe/waffle” option whereby patrons can choose from over forty different toppings* and interior ingredients. As someone whose ordering style has been compared to Sally of When Harry Met Sally who likes to think of herself as particularly creative when it comes to culinary combinations, I tried a crepe with caramelized onions, eggs, and wild mushroom pesto, which made my breath smell a little but my heart sing a lot.
Although Coco’s has multiple locations, I tend to favor the flagship Midtown spot, which offers a lovely selection of novel baked goods (homemade snickers bars!) and whose team is led by an avuncular, kindly gentleman. The woman who expertly poured and flipped my paper-thin crepe seemed as happy to make it as I was to receive it.
*One final note: Coco’s Crepes & Coffee refers to their sauces/toppings as “souces” consistently on their website and print menu. Lest you write off their use of this word as unnecessary pretension, know that souce is neither French nor Italian for “sauce.” It’s actually an archaic form of the British English souse, which refers to the liquid used in pickling and brining. Oh Coco! Continental to the end.