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If it weren’t for the price, we’d have no hesitation calling Cecil Cafe Cr麪e a Good One, but for lunch, it took $16.25 to get satisfy our admittedly sizable appetite (two cr麪es, one house-made iced mint tea).
The menu is skewed to the sweet side, with basics like choco strawberry and apple banana, but we were more curious about the Japanese influences. We asked for recommendations from each side of the aisle, and ended up with the potato salad prosciutto cr麪e ($7.50) and the red bean & cinnamon ($6.25).
The verdict: the savory cr麪e, which has some capers in the mix, was a winner. It tasted like mayonnaise and salt, and the cr麪e itself, made with buckwheat flour, was delightfully spongy. The red bean cr麪e was pumped full of too-sweet pastry cream. For the sweet-toothed this might be a real decadent treat, but clearly, we possess more of a weakness for salt. But when we got rid of the excess cream towards the top of the cone-shaped cr麪e, the earthy red bean balanced out nicely, but the cinnamon was almost undetectable.
We couldn’t help comparing this snack to a recent Chinatown adventure. A place called Tic Tac Toe on Hester Street does some East-West experimenting, too, and though our turkey, ham, hard-boiled egg, seaweed salad sandwich cost less than a cr麪e, we ended up trying to convince a homeless guy it wasn’t so bad. But we’ll go back. The miso roast beef sounded far less insane.
Cecil Cafe Cr麪e
135 First Avenue
Tic Tac Toe
163 Hester Street