Astoria, Featured, Restaurants
Feb 05, 2016

First Look at Brother Crepe, Bringing Japanese Style Crepes to the Astoria Masses

Last December we wrote about the start of what might be a “crepe invasion” of the neighborhood—Japanese style crepes have arrived in Astoria. This week I had a chance to be (…)

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Last December we wrote about the start of what might be a “crepe invasion” of the neighborhood—Japanese style crepes have arrived in Astoria. This week I had a chance to be in the vicinity of Brother Crepe, located on the southeast corner of 30th Avenue and 42nd Street. Since I had never had a Japanese style crepe before, I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect, beyond duh—they’re crepes… thin, delicious crepes. What I ended up eating was familiar yet not, but overall it was a good experience.

A little background—Brother Crepe is an independent establishment, the first under this brand’s name. I say “first” because they may expand at some point. I asked them why they opened up here in Astoria and owner Wu-Shen told me that “lots of people are moving here from Manhattan.” And the fact that he loves Japanese style crepes and wants to bring them to the masses in NYC. While he was making plans to open up his own Japanese crepe shop, he and his wife (who is fluent in Japanese because she works for ITO EN, the multinational Japanese tea company) spent 2-3 months in Japan to study the crepes close up.

He told me that the first month he was there, all he ate were crepes! “The crepe shops are everywhere!” he says. In my research on this delightful treat, I came across this video and found myself fascinated with the way the crepes are prepared with the fillings—it’s very strategic and architectural where things are placed in the crepe.

But back to Brother Crepe and their products. They serve both savory and sweet crepes, a few sides (e.g. sweet potato fries, Japanese sausages, gyoza, popcorn chicken) bubble tea, fresh juice, and smoothies. The crepes themselves are made with 100% rice flour, meaning they are gluten-free. The ingredients they use are on the conventional side of the spectrum (organic is cost prohibitive for them); however, they are planning to try out some organic eggs, which is a good thing in my book.

I chose to try a savory crepe, the Double Egg (mainly because I hadn’t really had breakfast at that point in the day). I also chose it for its ingredients, which include “two baked eggs, chopped lettuce, cheddar cheese, and spicy mayo.” The “baked eggs” are hard boiled eggs, and they cut them into thin slices. I was dubious about the (Iceberg) lettuce, but was pleasantly surprised at what a nice addition it was to the crepe—it added a little crunch to the overall soft texture and lightened things up a bit. And while I was a little disappointed at first that the cheese wasn’t melted much, in the end it didn’t really bother me. The crepe itself was soft yet firm, light in color because of the rice flour, and had a neutral flavor, I guess so that the fillings could shine.

Here’s what it looks like from overhead:

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And here’s what it looks like from the side:

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The crepe was pretty substantial, though I didn’t leave feeling overly full. For $5.25 it was a pretty good deal. And on top of that, my server Rita told me that they are running a special that with any crepe you get a regular bubble tea free! I opted for a Taro bubble tea, which was refreshing and sweet. The tapioca balls were smaller than I’ve had in other places, but they were cooked just right and I really enjoyed my drink (undercooked tapioca balls are bad news).

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I loved the little carrying bag the crepe came with:

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This means you can take it with you and not worry about it falling all over the place.

As for the space, there are a handful of stools by the window, and a table for four further inside. The place was very clean, too. I was told that the busiest time is after 6pm, but also around 2:30pm when the kids get out of school. They like to come in for a sweet crepe and a bubble tea or smoothie.

Specials for their grand opening include the aforementioned “buy a crepe, get a bubble tea free;” a buy one large bubble tea, get a regular size bubble tea free; free popcorn chicken for purchase over $20; and free gyoza is you spend over $30. Students get 10% off with their student ID, too.

I’m really looking forward to going back and trying one of the sweet crepes—I must experience this “whipped yogurt” for myself—and trying some of the other savory crepes (both the Chicken Teriyaki and the Brother’s BLT were recommended to me). I’d also like to try their smoothies, too. We’d love to know what you think about Brother Crepe—let us know in a comment!

Brother Crepe (42-02 30th Avenue, Astoria)
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About Meg Cotner

Meg Cotner was trained as a harpsichordist and now works as a freelance writer and editor. She is the author of "Food Lovers' Guide to Queens," and is a skilled and avid home cook, baker, and preserver.

4 Comments

Lindsay

I live on the same block and this place is amazing. I am a huge fan of their savory crepes. I’ve had the dessert ones, and personally I’m not a huge fan of the yogurt (I don’t like milk or yogurt at all – but for someone who likes yogurt I could see them loving this)

They’re not messy. They’re definitely made with love. And I will definitely be picking up from there for dinner tonight. My husband loves the chicken teriyaki. I love the shrimp avocado. Yeah. They’re not french crepes nor are they trying to be French. They’re perfect.

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Roy

Nice try, but Will be messy and tough to eat. Real French crepe was made to be eaten flat with silverware.

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