Le Happy’s crepes might make you happy.

Le Happy
1011 N.W. 16th.
(503) 226-1258
Mon-Thurs. 5 p.m.-1 a.m.
Fri. + Sat. 5 p.m.-2:30 a.m.
Closed Sunday.
Monday is “Flambe” Queer Night

When it’s all said and done, any city that claims to be “hip,” “international” or “trendy” must have a little international presence. Portland has been deemed “the most livable city in America.” Internationality surely must factor into that verdict.

The Beastie Boys sang: “I’m intercontinental when I eat French toast.” To be even more intercontinental eat a crepe. In France, Crepes were traditionally a popular peasant food. Today they are a classic example of popular culture appropriating folk traditions. Crepes are basically a white or buckwheat flour, egg, milk and sugar batter cooked flat like a pancake and filled with just about anything.

Our “most livable” town actually has more than three creperies. One is a well-accepted little spot called French Wrap that’s tucked into the corner of Stroheckers market, up in the Southwest hills. Another is a cart on Southwest Ninth and Yamhill called Snow White Crepes that serves rolled up crepes on the fly (they are a very quick food to prepare) and run by a woman deemed the “Crepe Nazi” (?!).

The third is relatively new to Portland, about four months young, and has the silly but great name: Le Happy.

Le Happy occupies a tiny space in the no man’s land between the Pearl District and Northwest proper on 16th Ave., between Lovejoy and Marshall. It is attractive, comfortable and most importantly open late. Blood red walls, lots of plastic flowers plastered to the wall and local art decorate. There are only a few tables but a couch and about six bar stools provide more seating. Dim lighting and good music also help make the atmosphere comfortable and cozy.

As an added bonus they have a working game of “Operation.” It’s a brilliant game that prepares young lads like me for high tech careers in surgical medicine. If only people’s nose’s lit up and buzzed when you messed up, it would be so easy.

Owner and alleged workaholic John Brodie, a man who knows Portland’s tastes well through his numerous entertainment and restaurant ventures – he managed La Luna and manages Pink Martini and 3 Leg Torso – says he wanted to create a “warm and cozy enviornment.”

But why crepes? Brodie says he has always been a fan of crepes and thought Portland could use a comfortable creperie that was open late. “Crepes are a great social food, a group of friends can order a bunch and share them.”

Brodie and chef John Roos have created a varied selection of savory and sweet crepes that should satisfy any palette. Thanks to great service from manager Bridget Connor, we (myself and the trusty photographer called Gifford) enjoyed a pint of Black Butte and tried a couple crepes. I must admit, I was somewhat of a crepe virgin, but now I’m gonna have to go back for more.

We had the Ma Provence, a buckwheat batter crepe filled with chicken, thyme, tomato and goat cheese. For dessert we enjoyed the night’s special, a white flour flambe filled with strawberries, topped with Nutella and powdered sugar and Grand Marnier freshly lit.

Other interesting items from the savory selection include the Demi-Vegan Tofu with fermented black beans and peanut sauce; The Faux Vegan with Spinach, mushroom sauce, cr퀌�me fraiche and goat cheese; Le Trash Blanc with bacon bits, cheddar and a Pabst Blue Ribbon for 50 cents extra.

On the sweet side various concoctions of fruit, nutella, chocolate and nuts all should be very savory indeed.

Le Happy also offers four good-looking French inspired salads with mixed greens, spinach and everything from rice cakes to cranberries to top them off.

For a heartier, more traditional meal, as crepes aren’t really the most filling food, there’s Le Steak. Translated, that’s a top sirloin beef steak, this one served with a house salad and a gorgonzola crepe for $12.

Twelve bucks is about the price you’ll pay for a full and satisfying meal of a Savory crepe and a salad. Most of the Savory crepes run around $7, salads for around $5. Sweet crepes average around $5 or $6. Additions to crepes, and there are many options, will up the price one or two bucks.

Le Happy has a small but excellent French wine list and a good draft and bottled beer selection. Good coffee, tea, fresh juice and soda are also available.

Le Happy might not be the place to get the biggest bang for your buck, but they make damn good crepes. The fact that that they are open late also makes it a great meeting or date destination. Remember the old adage: nothing says love like a crepe.

Le Happy just started doing “Flambe” queer night on Mondays. Brodie said they basically turn up the music and cut loose a little more than usual.

Speaking of cutting loose. The restaurant is non-smoking before 10 p.m., and 21 and over from then on.