Sweet Heaven Delivers a Steaming Pile of Crepe to Midtown
Variety is the spice of street food life. You’re probably reading ML thinking that you don’t want any more damn generic deli crap for lunch, and you’re through with Chinese food too. Mix it up a little – this is New York freakin’ City, and the world is your oyster (unless you wanted Balkan kebab – I miss you, Cevap Truck) with Sweet Heaven throwing their hat into the ring. With the 40th to 38th St. corridor swiftly emerging as the Restaurant Row of 8th Avenue, is Sweet Heaven really the pearly gates of creperies on this side of town? Or are we descending to the 9th Steam Table Circle of Hell?
Sweet Heaven is a tiny space. It looks like it came out of some Hong Kong alleyway. In fact, the crepe joint was built out of part of Roll & Go’s space, and is directly affiliated with them.
Unfortunately, this small space leads to fairly significant delays. With only two crepe cooking surfaces and about 3-5 minutes per crepe to cook, you’re gonna end up waiting. I don’t think there’s a way to speed up the process, which was a real Achilles heel for Sweet Heaven. I waited about 15 minutes for a crepe behind three people’s other orders and this banana Nutella crepe, most of which were bubble tea (which is at least made fresh to order with a base of actual tea, not just powder A and powder B).
Fresh crepes being rolled out. Gotta love crepe rollers: one of those necessary unitaskers.
The business end of lunchers: savory crepes. The options aren’t as varied as the sweet crepes.
See what I mean? (Clickable thumbnail – sorry to CheeeeEEEEse, but it’s either this or thumbnails too large for the ML format – I tried ;_; )
Some of the people ahead of me got their crepes in little walkable carriers, cone-shaped and flat enough to hold the crepe to walk and eat. I guess I didn’t rate those for the Margarita (the Italian queen, not the booze) crepe ($6.99) and white chocolate crepe ($3.99). This combo goes past the top end of the ML barrier, so sticklers for the $10 limit do at least have a couple of options for a two-crepe meal in the form of ham & cheese or Hawaiian. How many Midtown Lunches have the possibility of dessert in the price? In the words of a great philosopher, treat yo’self!
The crepes themselves are properly constructed, but they don’t have the spongy stretch that other crepes I’ve had encountered. These are a bit moister in texture and feel, though, and they hold together excellently. Sometimes, spongy crepes fall apart easily. The Margarita crepe held together quite well.
The Margarita crepe, cut open. It’s fairly standard, but they do one step up from crappy foodservice tomatoes by using halved grape tomatoes. Anything is better than mealy white-core foodservice tomatoes. The cheese wasn’t the fresh whole-milk mozzarella in water that a basic traditional Caprese salad gets made with, but this is a nice melty mutz. Could have used a bit more, though. It was nice and melty, but this is something that shouldn’t be brought too far to eat. By the time it got back to my office, the cheese had gone from melty to warm-ish.
The white chocolate crepe, though? Good freakin’ stuff. The sweet fillings are kept warm in front of the crepe stove, and they stay nice and melty even all the way back to the office. The crepe itself had a very tiny subtle sweetness that was complemented well by the chocolate.
Since the Margarita went to my co-worker the day before, I went back for a lunch crepe of my own the next day. This is the Greek, and it was my first real exposure to combining feta cheese and honey. What a perfect lunch this was, and it had enough feta to be pretty filling. The basil was fresh indeed, and the same grape tomatoes were present. The Greek comes close to the top at $7.99, making a dessert crepe a big jump over the $10 limit, so YMMV – but I could think of worse lighter-fare lunches.
I don’t see myself becoming a Sweet Heaven fanboy, mostly because of the prospect of long delays. If I’m walking up 8th and the line doesn’t suck, I’d love to stop by for a nosh or a two-crepe inexpensive lunch. For $10 it’s decent if you make the right menu choices, and while it’s not some super-duper-proper French creperie, it’s a very welcome addition to the neighborhood.
The + (What the 8th and 38th Fan Club would say):
- Variety! Oui!
- Lighter fare for lunch that isn’t a salad.
- The ingredients are fresh and the crepes are done nicely
The – (What the Quebecois separatists would say):
- On the pricey side.
- This isn’t Paris, this is Midtown – you gotta turn street food around faster than this!
Sweet Heaven, 288 West 38th St. (at 8th Ave.)