The conundrum within a croissant.
Long-time readers know that we love Dominique Ansel. It’s our ultimate favourite patisserie in NYC. We have featured it many times on this dessert blog, see here, here, here, here and here, and the reason why is that DA doesn’t only offer the type of cakes commonly found in patisserie shops. Rather, his sense of dessert creativity is unrivalled in NYC. So you can imagine our excitement when we learned that he had opened a new store in the Flatiron district.
*Updated April 2022.
The Workshop is intended to become DA’s flagship location. Media articles note that there will one day soon, be a “Test Kitchen” hosting classes and dessert collaborations. At the moment, festooned with cascades of flowers on the outside, it houses the company’s corporate offices, its main production facilities and a small counter-top focusing on viennoiseries. Currently therefore, the Workshop is a bakery in the French style. There are six croissants on offer, sweet and savoury. These include a traditional croissant, another infused with olive oil, a multigrain, a pain au chocolat, ham and cheese, and our favourite, the buttery “Almond Croissant” ($6). The “Brown Sugar DKA” ($5.75) – a signature DA creation – also makes a presence. It is a favourite of a friend of ours, but for us, we are a bit ambivalent. Consider it a sweeter-toned croissant.
We also sampled a few of the other pastries on offer. Being the largest in size, the “Brioche Bressane” ($9.50) caught our eyes. It was an airy puff, tinged with orange blossom and studded with pockets of creme fraiche. The “Meyer Lemon Kumquat” ($5.75) was a twist on the apple turnover, with a lemon curd-like filling instead. And our absolute favourite was the “Hazelnut Praline Coffee Triangle” ($6.00), essentially an almond pastry with hazelnut praline inside and a yolk-like coffee cremeaux on top. Another favourite is the petal-shaped “Coffee Creme Brulee” ($7.00).
We still believe that DA is a NYC dessert treasure, and the Soho store will always be our go-to for a reliable dessert hit. But, the Workshop in its present iteration seems like a missed opportunity. It may be premised on celebrating the roots of a traditional French bakery, but in our minds, NY already has so many of those. Perhaps therein lies the conundrum of this pandemic — do we want things that are familiar, a comforting reminder of the past? Or do we want things that are entirely new and different, a light at the end of the tunnel, a glimpse into the future? Guess it will take unraveling the many flakey layers of a croissant to figure that out…
Dessert adventure checklist
- ☑ Dessert destination: Dominique Ansel Workshop, 17 East 27th Street, New York.
- ☑ Budget: $$.
- ☑ Sweet irresistibles: Pastry.
- ☑ Must-eat: The “Hazelnut Praline Coffee Triangle.”
- ☑ The short and sweet story: The conundrum within a croissant.