I discovered during my visit that it’s really important to note that it’s more a coffee shop than a crepe restaurant. Still, I expected it to be a little more … French, I guess? The crepes — though fairly authentic, based on my memory of crepes in Paris — are more a vessel for other food than the star of the plate. What's served is basically sandwiches on crepes instead of bread. The menu is rather large; there are breakfast, savory, sweet or build-your-own options, but none are even vaguely reminiscent of a French crepe. Italian, Thai, and even Bacon Cheeseburger are all on the menu, but no Suzette. The closest to authentic is the Florentine on the breakfast menu.
Still, that’s not really a problem. There was one vegetarian option on the menu (aside from a build your own), but the Field of Greens (lettuce, red peppers, onions, tomato, mozzarella, basil aioli) just didn’t sound very appealing. I suppose I just expected something a little more inventive for vegetarian options. Or more French. Such as brie, apples and arugula, or maybe some roasted seasonal vegetables. Even a “Mediterranean style” with artichokes, roasted red peppers, olives and feta would sem a little more interesting.
And definitely more cheese options with the build your own (gruyere, feta and goat cheese, perhaps) would help. I got just a basic cheese crepe (which had Monterey jack cheese as the base, which seems odd to me,) and it was good, but it didn’t take long to eat it and I was still hungry afterward. Tasty, but not satisfying.
Also, the crepes and their fillings are made to order, so it takes a while to get your food. That is very French. Though there was no one ahead of us, it took about 20 minutes to get our crepes. Not a problem if you’re leisurely enjoying a cup of coffee, but notsomuch if you’re already bordering on hangry by the time you arrive. That's not a criticism; it's just worth noting. I certainly don’t have a problem with a place that makes food to order.
All that said, my husband got the Thai crepe and loved it. It was huge and filling. And though the dessert crepes aren’t particularly authentic, they do look very tasty. Several people I know are regular customers and really enjoy the coffee and the food. And The Red Bicycle also offers gluten-free crepes for a small upcharge, which is pretty remarkable. As for beverages, they serve tea and smoothies in addition to coffee and offer flavor shots as well. Surprisingly, I didn’t see French or Italian sodas on the menu, though.
So, I think as long as you’ve managed your expectations, The Red Bicycle is worth checking out. It’s a cute little place and certainly seems a welcome addition to the neighborhood. Just be sure to check out the menu on their Facebook page (in the photos) before you go, which is clearly something I should have done.
The Red Bicycle
1200 Fifth Ave. N. (next to Germantown Café)
Monday-Friday: 6:30 a.m.-9 p.m.
Saturday and Sunday: 7:30 a.m.-9 p.m.