Friday, December 19, 2008

Levain : New York

From what I gather from the internets, Levain is one of the favorite cookie bakeries in NYC (See NYMag's Best Cookies, DessertBuzz's NY Cookie Round up, Amateur Gourmet's Levain writeup). So when I had the time, I made my way up to Levain to see what their cookies were all about.

The bakery itself is small and unassuming. They've got a small storefront with a bench in front. You go down the stairs and find yourself immediately in front of the ordering counter.

Chocolate Chip Walnut Cookie
In contrast to the size of their storefront, their cookies are huge ogre monsters, measuring at least an inch in height. Behold the sheer beautiful ugliness of this big mama:

Not only large in physical size, these cookies are large in flavor. They've got large chunks of walnuts and big blocks of chocolate, which just screams decadence.

While the cookie is certainly satisfying, my complaint is that the large portions of nuts and chocolate made me feel that I was just eating trail mix of just chips and nuts. These two ingredients just dominated the cookie batter both in flavor and in texture.

The choice to only sell chocolate chip cookies with walnuts was probably a wise one. The dry walnuts do some good in nullifying the what would be overwhelming chocolate sweetness.

All in all, this cookie satisfies in its decandent taste, but it's kind of disappointing in the consistency. Especially if I were to compare this to Famous 4th Street Cookies, it just comes up a bit short.

Score: 8.2 / 10.0

Oatmeal Raisin Cookie
I just wasn't a fan of this. This wasn't a cookie, it was a semi-sweet scone. Overly cakey, not particularly satisfying. No thanks.

Score: 5.0/10.0

Levain Bakery
167 West 74th St New York, NY 10023 (Map)
($cookies, $NYC, $Dessert)


  1. haha really?? I dunno, maybe I got it on a bad day, but I wasn't too impressed by the 4th st cookies, esp. since it looked so tasty. I remember the texture being a little cakey...Levain's is much better, in my opinion. Although, I do think Levain's flavor is lacking a bit from not having vanilla extract, even though they think it is better that way...
    Have you tried City Bakery's chocolate chip cookie yet?? I really like that one...

  2. Hmm, perhaps we have differing preferences on cookie texture. I find the size and resulting texture of Famous 4th St Cookies to be pretty darn ideal. That being said, if we were comparing the two cookies solely on taste, I would agree with you on Levains'.

    I did try City Bakery's choc chip cookie, but again had issue with its texture. It was just too thin and delicate for my tastes. I prefer a cookie that I can sink my teeth into, so to speak.

  3. Hi Comradechu,

    Niko from DessertBuzz checking in here. Thanks for linking to my cookie review! I have enjoyed your site (especially the pretzel competition - Stallone should buy a few of those).
    I have recently added a newer review of all the gourmet cookies in New York City - it is what I believe the most comprehensive list with photos on the web.

  4. Niko, thanks for visiting and commenting. I've updated the link accordingly.

    Your cookie list is amazing and I like how your reviews pull no punches. Hopefully, I'll get some more chances to visit some of your fave NY bakeries...