Editor's note: Every week, we'll spotlight a culinary treat found around Dallas-Fort Worth — whether it's a new opening, a dish at a restaurant, or a grocery find.
Dish: Japanese-style fluffy banana pancakes, $15
Location: Creek Cafe, Lakewood
Creek Cafe is a tiny mom-and-pop that opened on Gaston Avenue in 2017. They started out doing Japanese food but had a young manager who introduced a weekly Wednesday-night foray into vegan food. Since then, they've incorporated vegan items as a regular part of their menu.
One new dish they've introduced on Sundays is their chocolate banana pancakes, a unique twist on pancakes that's popular in Japan.
Called Japanese souffle pancakes, or "hottokēki," or hotcakes, or simply "fluffy pancakes," they're a delicacy that's halfway between pancake and souffle.
Smaller in circumference than the usual pancake, they stand up to 2 inches tall and jiggle slightly when they're moved.
Part of the thickness is achieved by cooking them in a round mold. The batter is also different from the usual pancake mix; the eggs are separated as you do with a souffle. Some recipes also add mayonnaise.
The result is a super fluffy disc, spongy and softly textured like a souffle.
Creek Cafe's version is vegan, which means no eggs or mayonnaise, and no jiggle. To compensate for the moisture, they add mashed bananas to their batter, which also gives the pancakes a subtle banana flavor.
You get two pancakes to an order, one stacked on the other, then drenched in chocolate sauce.
The texture of the pancakes is more like a muffin than a pancake or a souffle. It seems intriguingly decadent at first, then becomes momentarily overwhelming. There was a lot of chocolate there. But it wasn't a sugar overkill. It was sweet, but not that sweet.
Some nice sugared pecans sprinkled on top provided a valuable contrast to the cake and the chocolate. It might not have been bad to cut the chocolate in half and offer another sauce as an alternative flavor.
For all the bang it delivered, it was still fairly light. You didn't get the feeling of grossness you feel after eating something loaded with butter and sugar.
That said, it's definitely a good dish to split. And most might consider $15 a little steep for pancakes.