The cafe serves both sweet and savory Korean street food including crepes
“Mong means, ‘like a dream,’ in Korean,” states Hee Bae, owner of Cafe Mong. Initial impressions confirm, this place is definitely dreamy. A blue painted wall is the sky-like backdrop for the ceiling installations shaped liked clouds and made from pillows by co-owner Amy Park. Customers are calm and cheery. The food is whimsical. And there’s the actual story behind the place.
Bae and Park were both furloughed during the pandemic. He was an omikase chef for high end sushi joints, specializing in progressive, coursed dinners. She worked in the office of restaurants.
Both were born in Korea and once they found themselves with so much free time, they decided to explore their roots in Korean street food, namely Korean crepes.
These are not the crepes most Americans think of when they hear the word. Most diners in this country are more accustomed to the French style, thin pancake vessels.
One thing that separates these crepes is the use of rice flour in the batter. It creates both a more toothsome texture and a more neutral taste, making it more of a compliment to the fillings, but still having its own worth.
When Bae and Park decided to open a cafe focusing on their home country crepes, they had never had any experience making them. During their downtime in lockdown, the two experimented, creating three or four different versions a day until they came upon three different recipes they thought were winners. The duo had their chef friends try all three and universally, the one that ended up being the favorite, was the version that is currently on their menu.
There are both sweet and savory crepes served at the small cafe. The truffle prosciutto crepe features the thin, salty ham, a spring mix of greens, red onion, tomato and truffle aioli. The owners show excellence in restraint, always letting the ingredients shine.
From the sweet side of the things, the custard brûlée crepe is a showstopper. Crepe, custard, strawberry. That’s it and it’s delicious.
Cafe Mong has also introduced the croffle, an item that has recently taken off in popularity in Korea. As the name implies, it’s a mix between a croissant and waffle – why hadn’t this been done years ago?! – and can be topped with items like bananas, Nutella and strawberries. This might be the only place in Las Vegas currently doing croffles, which are as much fun to say as they are to eat.
A more common offering around town is avocado toast, but the version at Mong is expertly made. Thick sourdough bread is topped with a light egg salad, avocado and it is all brought together by a balsamic mirin drizzle on the plate.
Bae prides himself on making as much as he can in-house, including the soups, which rotate weekly. A Korean cafe might not be one’s first thought when considering where to get French onion soup, but when it’s as good as the version here, it should be.
Drinks are playful and any influencer worth their views will spotlight the “Squid Game” latte. The iced coffee drink is topped with dalgona candy, the Korean sugary snack made with baking soda. Fans of the breakout Netflix hit the drink is named for will remember the challenge in episode 2 where the contestants had to perfectly carve specific shapes of dalgona. They’ll also remember what happened to the competitors that failed at doing it!
Bae and Park opened their first Korean cafe in the middle of the pandemic, which currently has a five star aggregate rating on Yelp and a loyal following. It is like a dream. Indeed.
Cafe Mong is located at 6496 Medical Center St., Ste. 100.