On one of Gothamist’s favorite restaurant strips in the East Village, the block of St. Mark’s Place between 1st Avenue and Avenue A, sits an anomalous tree and a creperie beside it, the Crooked Tree Café. Tucked across the street from another Gothamist favorite, Hummus Place, and down the street from Dumpling Man, Crooked Tree offers sweet and savory crepes and both hot and cold sandwiches, filling a niche neither of the other eateries nearby quite satisfies.
Unlike so many East Village restaurants that are so small that on a Saturday night there is no chance of fitting a party of four in, Crooked Tree is slightly more capacious, catering to a leisurely meal for diners in groups. While ordering drinks, Gothamist took note of the locally made Olde Brooklyn sodas offered in the more standard flavors of root beer, orange, and cola flavors, in addition to more eccentric types such as raspberry. In old fashioned bottles, our soda expert at the table declared the root beer excellent, a good start to the meal.
From a dozen or so combinations of savory crepes on the menu, Gothamist chose the smoked chicken and goat cheese crepe, while one of our dining companions ordered the prosciutto and mozzarella. Unlike crepes we’ve had before, that come in a conical shape, the filling were wrapped in a square shape by the buckwheat crepe. Light on fillings, the chicken was sliced like sandwich lunch-meat and Gothamist would have preferred grilled chicken and additional vegetables inside. Next time, Gothamist will remember that Crooked Tree offers a pick-your-own filling crepe, allowing the customer to choose up to three fillings from their extensive list of meats, cheese, and vegetables. Gothamist’s dining companion noted the prosciutto and mozzarella was a bit salty for her liking, though still enjoyable along with the side salad.
Gothamist’s other two dining companions opted for a roast beef sandwich and a chocolate and banana dessert crepe, respectively. The sandwich arrived on a hot pressed sub roll with generous amounts of deli meat and standard toppings: lettuce, tomato, onions, and cheese. Chocolate and healthy chunks of banana oozed out of the dessert crepe that arrived dusted with powdered sugar, and is also made from the same slightly-too-chewy buckwheat batter used for the savory crepes.
Although the crepes are questionably authentic and Gothamist doubts you’ll be reminded of the crepes from the street vendors in gay old Paris, the Crooked Tree Cafe is a convivial spot for Sunday brunch, a late night dessert stop, or quiet place to sit and chat with friends. If you find yourself a bit further downtown, Gothamist also recommends Crepe Paris (135 Ludlow), or if crosstown, Rue de Crepes also offers a delicious selection of brunch crepes (along with mimosas!).
Crooked Tree Cafe is located at 110 St. Mark's Place and open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. (212) 533-3299