Our 10 Best Pastries in New York City (That Aren't the Cronut)
We're starting to think that cronut mania is an Alex Jones-ian false flag attack on America to rob people of their dignity and waistlines (damn you, H&M, I am not an XXL in jeggings). After all, people are getting up before the cock has doodled its doo to wait in lines that wrap around the block for a chance to stare into Dominique Ansel's eyes and taste his deep-fried, cream-filled croissant/donut hybrid. This pastry mastermind has tapped right into the food-obsessed main vein, and he's riding the zeitgeist straight to Solid Gold Toilet City. Not that the cronut is necessarily a flash in the pan; as it stands, it's poised to take over the kouign amann as the bakery's signature dessert.
Sure, cronuts are making people go nuts, but there's an entire city filled with bakeries doing wonderful things that are terrible for you. Not all of them are fried. Some are newfangled, some are classics--all are worthwhile. Here are 10 mighty fine pastries that might just make you say "cro-what?"
10. Chocolate Banana Cream Puff, Panade Puffs & Pastries, 129 Eldridge Street
Several years ago saw the great Japanese cream puff boom, when Beard Papa and Choux Factory opened multiple locations and most New Yorkers could be found with a bit of custard on their face (just me, then?). Panade carries the choux pastry torch with grace and aplomb. To wit: savory puff sandwiches filled with everything from roasted eggplant to coconut curry chicken. Of the traditional, custard-filled options, the dense chocolate is exemplary on its own. Paired with fresh slices of banana, it's a rival to Beard Papa's eclair for best cream puff in New York.
9. Bomboloni, Sullivan Street Bakery, 533 West 47th Street
They've been around forever in blog-cycle years, but Jim Lahey's lemon-zest-and-vanilla-custard-filled bomboloni are in a class all their own, and they deserve a cronut-like resurgence. In addition to a rich dark chocolate, the donuts come filled with seasonal jams. For a classic perfected, though, we like the vanilla custard bomboloni. Vanilla bean permeates the whole confection; the fried dough is a gorgeous brown and dusted with powdered sugar. As far as filled donuts are concerned, we're hard-pressed to find a finer specimen. The cronut may be the new kid on the block, but sometimes it's wise to respect your elders.
8. Green Tea Koshi Croissant, Takahachi Bakery, 25 Murray Street
While not the cutest pastry in the case (that award goes to the newspaper-wrapped green tea crepes), the blossom-shaped green tea koshi croissant sports gnarled braids of tea-spiked, Dr. Seuss-approved green dough that are woven into petals centered with pools of sweet red bean paste that contrast with the deeply burnished crust. A top layer of sesame seeds affords the baked behemoth a nutty finish.