Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

T-Swirl Brings Japanese Crepe Action, Flavors to Pittsburgh

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

T-Swirl Brings Japanese Crepe Action, Flavors to Pittsburgh

Article excerpt

For a sweet or savory crepe that looks frou-frou in a very non-French way, head to T-Swirl Crepe in Squirrel Hill.

Unlike a flat crepe that is served on a plate, this Japanese-style one is rolled into a cone and looks like a piece of art with its eye-catching array of colors and textures.

Made with rice flour, eggs, butter, milk and a little bit of sugar, the batter is spread thinly on a flat round crepe grill, flipped once and topped with sauce or custard or aioli. Sweet crepes are dotted with fruits while the savory types are finished with vegetables and seafood or meat, all placed with precision. The crepe is first folded in half and then rolled into a cone before it is placed into a perforated paper holder. For dine-in customers, it is served in a conical stand.

Each crepe is made to order. You can either sit at one of the few tables at the front of the long storefront restaurant on Murray Avenue and watch a video about T-Swirl crepes or watch your order being created on the counter behind the glass pane by taking a seat on the wooden bench across from the kitchen.

Owner Tom Chen, 32, who started off by working at his father's restaurant, Asia Tea House in Oakland, says he had wanted to open a T-Swirl in Pittsburgh ever since he visited one in New York City a couple of years ago. So he got in touch with the corporate office in Flushing, N.Y., about opening a franchise in Squirrel Hill, and his desire became a reality this past December.

T-Swirl offers sweet and savory options and they come with extra toppings for an additional charge. The hand-held crepe is crispy on the top edge and soft and chewy as you work your way through it.

Thai chicken ($8.75) comes with sliced chicken, mesclun greens, asparagus, cucumber, carrot and cilantro and gets a good dose of heat from the Thai dressing and wasabi tofu sauce. …

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