New York is a walker’s town and an eater’s town. So, historically, it’s always been a hotbed for street food. The city used to be famous for the hawkers of such specialties as ice cream sandwiches, roasted sweet potatoes, and raw oysters. Today, unfortunately, the carts that are most visible are those falling prey to a monoculture of “Hot: pretzels, knishes, dogs.” But there is still a thriving subculture of handmade street food out there. In this new column, Gothamist gives shout-outs to the little guys who are taking something tasty to the streets.
On the southeast corner of the Bowery and Grand Street, where lighting stores give way to noodle shops, this hybrid popped up about a month ago. A tiny take-out window carved out of a bigger building, Fusion Crepes has about 18 sweet and savory offerings. The menu features whimsical names and an array of fillings that combine French, American, and Japanese flavors. The most popular is Ebony Harmony, a dessert crepe that's like a banana split without the ice cream. The soft, thin crepe is filled with nutella chocolate, sliced banana, butterscotch, and whipped cream, then topped with confectioners’ sugar. It's an irresistible combination.
On the savory side, you can’t get any more fusion than the Nippon Deska. A regular flour crepe is wrapped around diced tofu, sautéed mushrooms, barbeque sauce, and chives. Artfully squirted on top is mayonnaise, and then comes the pièce de resistance—bonito. “Dancing bonito,” explained our cheery crepiste, are flakes of dried tuna flakes that undulate seductively when sprinkled on top of hot dishes. Okay, this concoction might be a bit of overkill, but no more than a hot dog all the way. And you can feel a lot better about yourself when you consider you’re getting your RDA of tofu in this tasty street snack.
The crepes are cooked on an electric griddle right by the window, so you can watch the magic as your treat is flipped and folded before your eyes. They are then sliced and placed in pretty sushi trays to take away for just $3.50 each. Fusion Crepes may befuddle the Chinatown locals, but in fact it makes perfect sense in the melting pot of this city’s street food. In this city of endless new combinations, it is a real New York original.