Whether savory or sweet, crêpes are whimsical, delightful and limitless because of the opportunity to be adventurous when choosing a crêpe’s filling. The crispy, fluffy and/or puffy envelope—that would never be left unopened if it were mail—is usually made to provide the most amazing, French vehicle for cheese, meat, or my favorite crêpe filling, Nutella. Last Saturday morning , I took my son on a short crêpe tour in the often overrun with stroller traffic Park Slope and we had good experiences at all three crêpe stops on the following list. Good luck crêpe-ing (not to be confused with creeping)!
The Pleasant Pheasant
Le French Tart should be renamed Le French Tasty Tart! In this bright, spacious and light-filled environment meant for families, the authentic Parisian cuisine that you’ll devour outshines the decor. You’ll like the Eiffel Tower candle holders and hound dog bottle openers that are for sale, but you’ll adore la poulet, the mouthwatering chicken crêpe.
The crêpe itself is a very thin, buckwheat, authentic Parisian crêpe. I didn’t mind the dark (almost burnt) areas, because the burnt taste added to the overall flavor of the crêpe. Something about a little bit of burntness says homemade—like your working mother ran home to make it for you in a rush homemade.
The filling of the crêpe—slightly overcooked grilled chicken breast, béchamel and swiss cheese—was ooey, gooey delightful to see and taste. Perfect for a rainy and unseasonably cold Saturday morning in May. It was served with a mixed salad with forgettable dressing, but I appreciated the gesture of serving a decadent crêpe with fresh veggies. How French!
Was it the French way to serve my chicken crêpe on a paper plate? I have mixed feelings: it took away from the experience of imagining that we’d traveled back to Paris to admire the beauty and taste of a great crêpe; but it also was a cleaner option than a plate they’d wash and reuse.
Either way, the decor and overall setup of Le French Tart could be greatly improved by focusing on the creation of a central space that is easily reachable from all four corners of this family-style cafe.
Le French Tart, 579 5th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11215
The Not-So Gratifying Goat Cheese and Spinach
After the rather subdued, as subdued as a bunch of toddlers and their families can be, experience at Le French Tart, walking in or rather dancing in to Couleur Café was quite energizing, to say the least. Current R&B and pop music played at just the right volume: loud enough to hear the wonderful bass beats, but still quiet enough to be remain a special part of the background. Also, enjoyable enough to chair dance to while you eat.
While the music was enjoyable, so was Couleur Café’s mix of retro and vintage-modern aesthetics, evident in turn of the century-styled moldings on the walls, floral print cushioned chairs, and the reclaimed banisters that punctuate the turquoise counter/bar.
The crêpe was not my favorite but only due to the spinach filling. I tend to avoid cooked spinach, unless it’s cooked in cream and butter with cheese and made into a dip. The crêpe was like a biscuit or the crust of a potpie: tasty and hearty enough to hold up to a wet filling. Even with the spinach, it didn’t turn soggy on me. A smoked salmon option was available but I wasn’t in the mood for it. But next time and yes, there will be a next time for us at this unique cafe, I’ll be ordering the smoked salmon crêpe.
Couleur Café servers are friendly, if not on point. Our drinks—a well deserved mimosa and a well-done (according to my son) Shirley Temple—came to our table after our grilled cheese and crêpe orders.
With all of its misses, I’d still say Couleur Café is cooler than most cafés.
Couleur Café, 435 7th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11215
Very kid-friendly. Very petite. And very appetizing Nutella crêpe. I love Nutella so I’m biased towards the entire taste of the crêpe as Nutella’s dominance of deliciousness over everything it’s paired with seduces me.
But my son noticed that the crêpe was not light, thin, or fluffy but rather densely packed down in layers, which made it difficult for him to eat. I noticed that I was chewing it for a while, but I didn’t care.
My Nutella crêpe was fancily drizzled with Nutella and powdered sugar after being folded into the classic triangular crêpe shape. Perhaps if we ate it when it was warm, it’d be easier to eat and enjoy.
Cusp Crêpe and Espresso Bar, 321 7th Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11215
A popular spot in Dekalb Market Hall, with the prettiest crêpe flower presentations—some with ice cream—you’ve ever seen.
Little Choc Apothecary
Cute, colorful and French-dressed—freedom of effortlessly combining old school elegance with youthful, cheeky charm—indoor garden seeks flavor-bound vegans that live to eat. Lots of tea, lots of smoothies and lots of green greatness await.
If you have not had the chance to celebrate life or being an adult of legal drinking age since Mardi Gras, then you might find the following list of bars and bakeries useful for your post-Lent and Easter festivities. Or, if you’re not religious at all, then think of this list as my celebration of French culture’s creation of the dessert course—yet another reason to love French culture. Whether you want a liquor-laced, calorie-laden cocktail dessert or a dessert cocktail, this list has you covered. Read on to find your too good to be good for you indulgence of choice.
Crown Heights Confections
Butter and Scotch
The name says it all! Half bakery that specializes in boozy treats! Half cocktail bar that specializes in dessert cocktails. Between the milkshakes, the famous if not devilishly infamous in a bad-meaning-good way the hotline bling cake, and the sweet and perfect birthday cake, you won’t be able to commit to one choice. Pretend you’re at a wedding cake tasting and sample them all. Of course lent will be over, so it’s ok to be a little mischievous. What is a confessional is for, if not for sweet, sweet treats.
Atlantic Ave. Treatery
Try the frozen craft cocktails, lush with fruit, herbs, and quality liquor. If you don’t drink too much—which is not an easy task at this classy throwback to the roaring twenties den of mixology—there is little to no chance of getting wasted. Elsa’s art deco vibe was created for the experienced drinker that prefers after dinner cordials. Enjoy light snacks from Stinky Brooklyn while sipping a fine, make your week cocktail.
Candy-Coated Cobble Hill
Brooklyn Blackout, Strawberry Shortcake, and two cro-nuts was my most recent order from Mia’s. The diner-style strawberry shortcake was my favorite of the bunch but I have never gotten anything from here that didn’t make me smile. It can be frenetic at this busy, Smith Street, open till 1a.m. on a Saturday night cafe/bakery that sells traditional sweets sans alcohol. Promise that you’ll get a different kind of buzz if you stop in for a cupcake nightcap.
Cookie Monsters on 5th
Du Jour Bakery
Park Slope is littered with bakeries, restaurants, and family-style eateries of all kind. Du Jour is a standout because its macaroons are so darn cute, and the fresh, baked on the premises pastries—like the monkey bread—are crave-worthy. Did I mention Du Jour pastries are extremely fresh? So fresh that if you blink while standing in the occasionally long line for coffee and sweets, or call a half an hour in advance to reserve your son’s birthday cake, your special sweet thing could be gone. No matter how important it is to you or your child, it’s just gone, without a sign of life or a crumb of sugar as evidence of its existence. Yes, I’m being dramatic because from time to time, I still think of the Du Jour cake we didn’t get to savor on his birthday. We instead got a regular Brooklyn Blackout cake from Du Jour that my family loved.
Park Slope’s Finest
The Chocolate Room
In the words of Linda Grayson, “There is nothing better than a friend, unless it is a friend with chocolate.” My inner chocoholic would change the last part to say, “… unless it is a friend made of chocolate.” The Chocolate Room has been satisfying the universal, classic craving since 2005 and reopened in 2014 at a new 5th Avenue location. What it lacks in its part cafe, part diner and part store environment, The Chocolate Room makes up for in its sometimes delightful, sometimes lust-worthy offerings. If you want a truly decadent, thick and intense hot chocolate (available with rum), there’s no place that does it better. But if you’re in a nostalgic mood, the popular brownie hot chocolate sundae or the frenchified banana split with brûleéd bananas will make you feel like a kid again. Thirsty for a chocolate martini? Turn up with the rich, creamy and topped with cinnamon Brandy Alexander. A perfect good night.
Photo by Alireza Etemadi on Unsplash.