Dominique Ansel Kitchen (CLOSED)
Time Out says
Dominique Ansel not serving Cronuts is like Mick Jagger not singing “Satisfaction”—you risk losing the crowd if you don’t deliver the hits. But with a back catalog as extensive and worthy as Ansel’s, it wasn’t all that earth-quaking when the pastry icon announced he would be favoring deep-cut desserts over that croissant-doughnut phenom at Dominique Ansel Kitchen, the sophomoric effort to his hysteria-inducing bakery in Soho.
The counter-service West Village follow-up is more spacious than the pint-size original, with a wooden pyramid of stadium seating in a corner, a large retail counter overlooking the kitchen and a handful of bloom-potted benches outside. But there are no iPhone-primed lines to be found here—that’s because the work Ansel’s doing is more quietly radical than the hammy Wonka–fied hybrids on the lips of every tourist.
Cookie-milk shots and frozen s’mores have been traded for nipped-and-tucked classics, most of which are made to order, like velvety chocolate mousse folded à la minute ($6.50). Upon first bite, the fresh-from-the-fryer mini matcha beignets ($5.50 for six) are a touch too bitter—that is, until you pop one whole in your mouth, where that musky green-tea dusting acts as a gorgeously savory counterpoint to warm, zeppole-like dough.
Ansel improves upon his own superlative kouign-amann, lacing the buttery, crusty beaut with brown sugar for a deep, molasses-like sweetness ($5.25), but it’s new creations like the spectacularly fudgy sage-smoked brownie ($4) and the EGG-clipse ($7.50)—a head-spinning blitz of squid-ink brioche, garlicky mashed potatoes, confit egg yolks and a blizzard of Parmesan—that make the Kitchen as much a destination as the bakery.
There are moments when Ansel’s loftiness creeps up and richness overwhelms—see the dictionary-thick extra-fluff mille-feuille ($7.75) or the towering avocado-edamame toast that would look more at home at a Super Bowl spread ($8.50). Excellence prevails, however, and though wayward Cronut seekers may be disappointed not to find what they came for, they should stay for nearly everything else.
137 Seventh Ave South
|Cross street:||between Charles and 10th Sts|
|Transport:||Subway: 1 to Christopher St-Sheridan Sq|
|Price:||Average dessert: $7; tasting menu: $85–90. AmEx, Disc, MC, V.|
|Opening hours:||Daily 9am-9pm|
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