Dominique Ansel Bakery Review: Waiting for a cronut is worth it
At some point this past December, wifey was like, “I’m going to wake up to go get the cronut.” I was like, you crazy, woman. I’m staying in bed. But true to her word, she woke up at the crack of dawn and got into line for the cronut. She was kind enough to even bring the second one to me while I was at work. And that’s how I got to try the flavor of the month for December, Valrhona Chocolate and Champagne. There’s probably still haters against Dominique Ansel Bakery’s most popular creation, the cronut. But that croissant and doughnut combination was pretty damn delicious. There’s a reason people have lined up in Soho at dawn just for a taste of the phenomenon. As a person who gets hives when he waits too long in line, I can say without a doubt if you don’t wait for it, the cronut is amazing, delicious, and worth the (no) wait. Lately I’ve been hearing food writers relate experiences as being symphonic or haunting, but I don’t listen to music or watch scary movies. The cronut could be both of those things or none of those things.
So by now most people know how this mania works… Every month there is a new flavor. The Dominique Ansel Bakery opens at 8:00 AM and before they open, people line up to buy cronuts. Every person can buy two at most and each cronut costs $5 (so $10 for 2 cronuts). They don’t make unlimited number of these cronuts therefore if you get there later in the day, you probably can’t get one. They have other options now like a Pre-order list and placing a large order of over 50 cronuts. So if you’re wondering how rich and famous people can try it without waiting in line, they basically order more than 50 at a time. What’s $250 to a baller?
The Valrhona Chocolate and champagne flavor was really amazing if you love chocolate. The first bite into the cronut was both delightful and surprising. Delightful because who doesn’t love a deep fried pastry with cream in the middle? Surprising because Dominique Ansel figured out how to get the outside of the cronut to have crunch. Really, for $5 this thing was really good for the price.
But then January rolled around and we had snow in the forecast. Since I hate waiting, I thought snow would be the perfect condition for me to actually visit the bakery. There’s nothing that tapers people’s enthusiasm like an arctic vortex. We made like the honey badger and we braved the cold. Steph had arrived at Dominique Ansel bakery super early during her inaugural trip. For this second trip, we went around 8:15 and ended up with a short 30 minute wait. It wasn’t bad at all, if you don’t mind missing sensation to your toes for a few minutes. The bakery allows only a small number of people into the store at one time, and we were in the third group to enter the bakery.
One thing I noticed right away inside of the DA bakery was that they had so many people working. Cronut production is no joke. They probably fry them in the back, but one woman basically went to grab a whole cookie sheet of cronut at a time, and then put the frosting on top and garnished the cronut before another person put the cronuts in boxes, two at a time. I think the two cronut limit not only prevents scalping from happening, it also makes it easier for them to sell…
Basically one person made boxes and lined them up, and she would put two cronut in each box. It was probably whack when people could order like five because it made the whole production line inefficient. Now they probably can safely assume all customers would buy two, and every box can be the same. It just speeds things along and makes it better for the consumer too.
After waiting in the snow, you can bet that both Steph and I each got two cronut a piece. The flavor for January is Peanut Butter Rum Caramel. You have roughly three weeks left to try this flavor! Somehow the Valrhona Chocolate cronut seemed like it was fried more? The peanut butter rum caramel cronuts just didn’t seem as dark on the outside. And I’m not talking about the frosting on top, just the color of the cronut itself.
But no matter, it was still delicious. The inside of the peanut butter rum caramel cronut actually has two different colored creams. One was a lighter peanut butter-y cream and the other was a more dark brown rum caramel cream. I can say that the wait for the cronut was only bad when it was outside. Coincidentally, I think that’s also when one’s more likely to strike up a conversation with strangers. For example the woman in front of us was some lady from California who had never seen snow before. And the woman behind us was a tourist from Vancouver, and they were both chatty with each other and towards us. But once we got in that store? Nada. It was warm, we were all memorized by the cronut ‘factory’ and no socializing occurred.
So is the cronut worth it? Yes, I think it is worth it if you can find a day when you don’t wait an hour and a half or more. Waiting thirty minutes to get a taste of an international craze was definitely worth while. Hell, this past year, even my mom asked me if I had tried the cronut. She never asked about any other food hype, but she knew about the cronut. It’s good. It’s worth it. And if you can, try to get yourself a cronut. I would suggest like a cronut party where you buy a big order and you can skip the wait.
Dominique Ansel Bakery189 Spring Street .New York, NY 10012212-219-2773