Monday, April 14, 2008

City Bakery Cookies : New York

The City Bakery is apparently well regarded in the cookie department. The Gothamist, while not a foodie blog, proclaimed City Bakery's Chocolate Chip cookie as New York's best and a bunch of peeps on Chow list it as their number 1 as well.

Just going by its name, I was kind of expecting a small bakery inside, but it's actually quite big, with a large salad bar in back, two lines for purchasing goods and even a upstairs area for seating. It was also pretty crowded when we went in.

Chocolate Chip Cookie
But let's get down to the cookies. How do the New York's finest stack up to Phili's?

Their cookies are quite large, about 5 inches in diameter. Unlike the hefty DiBruno's cookie, however, this cookie is quite thin, about 1/2 inch in height. That thinness is initially quite interesting. It's almost like tasting thin-crust pizza for the first time after having eaten regular crust pizza all the time.

As for the actual taste, well, it's okay. There are fairly large chunks of milk chocolate that are decently satisfying. The actual cookie has an interesting texture; as thin as it is, one would expect it to be completely crunchy. But there is a initial bendiness/pliancy to the first part of your bite, which is surprising. Only afterwards, do you get that crunchiness that one would expect. The actual cookie batter is decent as well, albeit a touch on the buttery side.

I think my main issue is with the thinness. While it's nice that you can eat a cookie of this size without coming anywhere close to a sugar-high, there's a delicateness and airiness to the texture of the cookie, which I just want to yell at. It's just at odds with the fuller taste of a chocolate chip cookie. All in all, while the cookie is decent tasting, I can't say this comes close to the best chocolate chip cookie I've had. I don't know what these New Yorkers are thinking.


Oatmeal Raisin Cookie
I enjoyed the oatmeal raisin cookie less than the choco chip. Large and thin like its choco chip sibling, this cookie suffers some of the same issues. It's somewhat delicate and airy, which pairs better with an oatmeal raisin cookie taste, but is still not what I am looking for in a cookie.

What makes it worse though is the over-buttery taste of the cookie. That taste combined with the airy crunchyness of the cookie kept on reminding me of the cheap butter popcorn in those huge holiday popcorn tins. <shudder>, here's a picture if you don't know what I'm talking about.

Every single bite, that's the picture I had in my head. Fake butter. Tin. Popcorn. Ugh, I'll have to try another of NY's favorite cookies next time, Levain's.


City Bakery
3 W 18th St New York, NY 10011 (Map)
(212) 366-1414
($cookies, $NYC)

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