A couple of weeks ago, I had to head stateside for a massive family reunion. Being the summer holidays, flight prices had doubled compared to what I normally pay so I thought I better maximise the use of my trip and hit up NYC for some epic eating. I’ve been a bit slack at reviewing them (so many places and only so much time to write) but with a little luck I’ll catch up soon. So here we go, first one up (and only right given the London Cronut Crawl I’m on now) is Dominique Ansel’s bakery. Others that I’ll aim to get up in the next week are Momofuku Noodle Bar, WD-50, Eleven Madison Park, Le Bernardin, and Katz’s Deli. Oh it was a good trip!
Anyone with a remotely sweet tooth and an internet connection has probably seen something to do with cronuts. This food fad was started by Chef Dominique Ansel who decided that he liked doughnuts and he liked croissants, but he only had the stomach space for one. Or maybe he had both in a box and sat on it so they squished together. Regardless, he created the Cronut which is intended to be the best of both baked goods in one easy to eat package.
Where do I go to get this delicious treat?
The bakery, subtly named Dominique Ansel Bakery, is down in NYC’s Soho district and a fairly non-descript store front. However, you can easily find it as you go past by the line that forms outside from just before 6am. Keeping in mind that the bakery doesn’t open until 8am, it’s a bit nuts. There are in fact some people who camp out at the start as proxies for others and sell the cronuts to their sponsors for 10-20x the price. Hey, you gotta make a living somehow right?
I got there around 6.15am after a jog around Lower Manhattan (pre-burning off the cronut) and was perhaps no 30 in line. Looking back, I reckon you can get there around 7.15 or so and be reasonably assured of a Cronut – all depends on your willing to take a risk since only 200 Cronuts are available each day and each person ahead of you is almost certainly going to buy the 2 Cronuts allowed per person.
And? Any good?
It was interesting. Yes, it was tasty with lots of sugar and raspberry jam. The texture was a little crispier than I expected as if it had been fully deep fried. The result is a sharply defined pastry that is absolutely gorgeous, but the uber sweetness (and this coming from a sugarholic) coupled with the slight greasiness made me a bit queasy. Perhaps eating something a little more savoury (I knew I should have stopped by Grays Papaya for a hot dog!) to line the stomach while you wait in line would be advisable.
I’d also prefer to see a bit more doughnut in the Cronut. The only thing that really linked it to a doughnut was the shape whereas some of the London versions have a soft fluffy interior as well that is most excellent.
Worth the dosh?
For $5 (c£ 3.30) plus tax a piece, it’s not a bad price but it is on the higher end of the London options. The main killer is the wait because, despite the line being fairly positive and friendly, it’s a long time to chill out on the sidewalk. If only someone sold drinks and snacks it would be much more bearable, but being trapped in place and unable to leave for fear of losing your place is a bit miserable. It was an experience, for sure, but unless you are a crazy foodie with nothing better to do (like me), I’d give it a miss.
Find Dominique Ansel Bakery here
189 Spring Street (between Sullivan and Thompson)
New York, NY 10012
Tel: (212) 219 2773
Fax: (917) 591 2330
8am to 7pm (Monday to Saturday)
9am to 7pm (Sunday)
Closest subway stops:
C-E train on Spring Street stop
N-R-W train on Prince Street stop