New York is not Vienna, but the past few years have seen a pastry transformation in the city. First came the cakes with deep frosting [think Magnolia Bakery]. Then the cupcakes and the macaroon [or macarons depending on your spell checker]. There are stores aplenty and trucks floating about the city offering a myriad of colors and tastes.
Every week it seems a new bakery opens in a trendy location. Some are good, some are less good. A bakery ought to smell right, have a friendly staff, and have the ambiance that invites you to stay for a second bite.
And then, there is the occasional great new bakery. Dominique Ansel Bakery in SoHo, at 189 Spring Street near Thompson is as great as anything you can find. Now, you can skip that flight to Paris or Vienna.
Dominique Ansel began his culinary career at 16. He rose to become the pastry chef at Daniel, one of the world’s premier restaurants.
And now, God bless him, he’s opened this bakery one mile from where I live. Unless the chill factor is below 0⁰ this winter, I really have no reason to skip a weekly date at this wonderful spot.
The triumph dish is the DKA, Dominique’s Kouign Amann. This doughy treat is four inches across, flakey, tender, and composed of caramelized layers that fold upon each other in magnificent ways. Pair that roll with a cup of hot chocolate, and you have fuel until you return in the afternoon for coffee and a more gooey treat: I do recommend the salt-topped caramel éclair.
The space is beautiful, with an outdoor area that, come spring, will surely be filled from dawn to dusk. The staff is smiling and happy. They’ll guide you down the line of available pastries and charmingly educate you about what to expect.
This store is what every high-end bakery should aspire to be. If you are in the business, you ought to drop by and spy. Your eyes will open at the quality achieved here. If you are not in the business, but simply have a sweet tooth, then go, open your eyes, open your mouth, and taste the epitome of pastry.