Crêpes, thin pancakes that can be folded into triangular pouches around savory or sweet fillings, are just the thing for these takeout times. They make eating a utensils-free proposition.
With the recent closure of La Crêpe Michel after more than 30 years of operation in Old Town, our city’s crêpes scene is now dominated by Billy and Mandy Nguyen, owners of the Burrow Café in the Northeast Heights.
The Nguyens formerly ran two Breve Crêpes and Coffee locations before deciding to close those places and launch their new venture in the spring of 2020 at Bridges on Tramway, a fledgling multiuse development. Lots of natural light bathes the high-ceilinged interior, where a row of leather couches and chairs sit waiting for the return of dining in.
The café dishes out breakfast and lunch six days a week, featuring a decent selection of savory and sweet crêpes.
Fillings on the savory side include pesto chicken and salmon lox with cream cheese. The ham and cheese crêpe ($9.25), a classic French street food, is served with fresh spinach and sliced tomato. The whole thing is folded multiple times so that you get layers of light, eggy crêpe interspersed with melted cheddar cheese and thick slices of caramelized ham. It’s a well-executed dish, the crêpe finished on the grill to make a crunchy armor around it all. The diced, fried potatoes on the side were nicely done, crisp on the outside, fluffy on the inside.
Fillings such as Nutella, berries and sliced bananas turn up in the sweet crêpes. A strawberry cheesecake crêpe ($10.25) is lined with cream cheese frosting and sliced strawberries and topped with crumbled graham crackers. The fruit was fresh and flawless – I wish there had been more of it – and the flavor combination of the ingredients was irresistible, like cheesecake without the heaviness.
The breakfast menu includes omelets, several variations of oatmeal and a breakfast sandwich called the Croissant Eggwich ($8). The latter, a toasted croissant sandwiched around a scrambled egg and a layer of melted cheddar cheese, was solid if unremarkable. It does the job of filling you up for the day ahead.
Burrow Café makes its crêpes with wheat flour, making them a no-go for gluten-free diners. You can get gluten-free bagels there for a $2.95 surcharge. In the gluten-free lox bagel ($11), the mildly salty, smoked salmon got a charge from pickled onions and generous schmears of lemon caper cream cheese.
The café serves a variety of espresso- and drip coffee-based drinks made with beans from Albuquerque-based Red Rock Roasters. Along with the usual assortment of lattes, cappuccinos and café au laits, are Asian variations, such as a rich, sweet Vietnamese iced coffee ($5.50) made with condensed milk over ice and a spicy chai tea latte ($5), less sweet and therefore better than the version turned out by a certain ubiquitous chain.
I ordered online through Selflane and was given a pickup time of 25 minutes, which proved to be accurate. There is a patio out front, but the patio furniture was stacked inside when I visited. A server told me they will set up a table and chairs outside on request.
The Burrow Café nicely rounds out the lineup of restaurants at Bridges on Tramway, with a number of menu items ideally suited for takeout and an inviting space in which to while away an hour or two once dining in resumes.