We are on the cusp of summer here in NYC, so it’s time to start to shift away from “heavier” desserts (such as pies and chocolates), and towards “lighter desserts” (such as ice cream and other frozen treats). We don’t particularly crave cake during the summer months, but when we do, we make a beeline for the “lighter,” but no less decadent, mille crepe cakes. So, to welcome summer, join us on a tour of the best mille crepe cakes in NYC!
The high society standard
- Dessert destination: Lady M, various locations in Manhattan. The cake is also available as part of high tea at Lady Mendl’s.
- Best for: The original mille crepe cake – paper thin crepes and cloud-like cream.
- Short and sweet story: Who is Lady M? According to our family and friends, that would be us – a girl with a penchant for high tea, an insatiable stomach space for desserts, and an unlimited budget for all the above. 😛 Jokes aside, Lady M is one of the “holy dessert trinity” that every tourist visiting NYC has on his/her to-eat dessert list — the other two parts of the trio are Momofuku Milk Bar and Dominique Ansel. Operating since the early 2000s, Lady M remains the gold standard for mille crepe cakes ($10-11 a slice). Each delicate layer can be peeled apart, and the cream sandwiched between each layer is as light as a cloud. There are a multitude of flavours on offer, and all but a chlorophyllic-green matcha cake, are “Western” flavours (e.g. chocolate, tiramisu, berry, popcorn etc). After many many visits over the last few years, we still believe that the original flavour is best. The “Passionfruit” though, is a close second favourite.
Afternoon tea treats
- Dessert destination: Prince Tea House, various locations in Manhattan, and Queens.
- Best for: The full cake and tea experience.
- Short and sweet story: You may recall that we have reviewed Prince Tea House before, and in that review, we recommended the reliable and consistent, casual afternoon tea experience. If you don’t have the stomach space for the full afternoon tea affair, there are singular slices of mille crepe cakes ($9-10 a slice) on offer. They are less creamy than Lady M’s, and more Asian-esque in inspiration. On one end of the spectrum, the “Green Tea” and “Purple Yam” (aka ube) are the least sweet, and on the other end, the Instagram-star “Bubble Tea” probably constitutes a month’s worth of sugar. We love the “Mango” the most, although it presently seems to be in retirement from the current menu.
About rainbows and fruits
- Dessert destination: Meno, 218 Thompson Street, Greenwich Village.
- Best for: Durian mille crepe cake.
- Short and sweet story: Meno is a little shop that recently opened in the heart of Greenwich Village. Sweet beverages are its focus, but it also offers a selection of mille crepe cakes ($8). They are smaller in size and slightly less expensive than the others in this list. They also possess thicker crepe layers. According to the shopkeeper, the “Rainbow” is the most popular, probably because it is the most photogenic. It is however, somewhat bland tasting. We would instead recommend Meno’s “Durian” cake, for its unabashed flavour and rich creaminess. Yes, it is perhaps a somewhat unexpected choice given that we ordinarily do not like the durian fruit itself, but it is very good.
A creamy encounter
- Dessert destination: Harbs, in Chelsea and in Soho, Manhattan.
- Best for: Extra-extra-creamy fruit mille crepe cake.
- Short and sweet story: Similar to Cha-An, Chikalicious, Patisserie Fouet, Harbs is another Japanese-style afternoon tea spot, albeit at a higher price point than these rivals. Its “King Chocolate Cake” ($13) is one of the most decadent cakes that we have had in NYC, a veritable castle-like construction of dense chocolate cake, with turrets made of cream puffs, a forest of raspberries and cascades of chocolate. We also love the simple elegance of the “Strawberry Cake” ($11), the full size of which would look especially beautiful for a birthday party or a wedding centerpiece. Harbs additionally offers a “Mille Crepe” ($11) on its cake menu. Composed of a stratum bejewelled with bananas, strawberries and kiwi, it is more a mille creme, than a mille crepe. If you love cream, this would be a dessert for you.
On opposite ends of the spectrum
- Dessert destination: Patisserie Tomoko and Kitsby Dessert Cafe, Williamsburg.
- Best for: Asian flavours.
- Short and sweet story: Across the East River in Williamsburg, one may also find two dessert spots offering mille crepe cakes. The first is Patisserie Tomoko. Located somewhat off the beaten road at the border of Williamsburg and Greenpoint, it was a regular dessert date night spot for us. There are usually 3-4 mille crepe cake flavours on offer, of which we favour the “Yuzu Chocolate” and the “Matcha.” Whereas Patisserie Tomoko’s version is similar to Harbs, equivalent to a mousse cake sans fruit, the hojicha mille crepe cake that we recall from Kitsby‘s #Covidessert delivery showcased more distinctive crepe layers with minimal cream.