Monday, May 26, 2008

Levain Bakery

Oatmeal Raisin and Dark Chocolate
I am now a loyal reader of NYC Food Guy aka Superman aka Lawrence. I've read about his love for Levain Bakery's cookies. I have a love of cookies, and decided to use a sunny Thursday afternoon to check them out. I purchased the Dark Chocolate Chip and Oatmeal Raisin cookie. At $3.75 a pop. It ended up being the old "Expectations vs Reality" and "Cookie vs Brownie and/or Scone" problem.

Inside a Dark Chocolate Cookie
Now I believe that a good chocolate chip cookie is crisp on the outside, chewy on the inside, and, oh, I don't know, sort of flat and round. Levain Bakery appears to disagree. Their cookie is a blob of dough. I watched them measure out a blob of dough whilst waiting in the queue. As any baker knows, here's the problem with blobs of dough, the inside bakes unevenly. The inside of this cookie was more like a brownie. A delicious brownie, but still a brownie. Don't sell me a brownie when I want a cookie. Their cookies also don't appear to spread at all; I didn't see evidence of shortening, but one can suspect that it is in play.

Inside Oatmeal Raisin
I was very disappointed with the Oatmeal Raisin. Last I checked, an oatmeal raisin has oats, batter, and raisins. There were oats in there, but too far and few between to qualify this as an oatmeal cookie. It had the same "blob of dough that didn't spread" problem as the other cookie-like bakery good. The inside ended up a tad on the dry side due too lack of spreadage. Add on top that it tasted like and pretty much resembled a scone. Don't sell me a scone when I want a cookie.

The old "maybe I was expecting too much" debate played out in my head, but now, I don't think I was. I was sold on a cookie and what I got were a delicious brownie and dry scone. They were good and disappeared very quickly in my house, but the fam agreed that they should not have cookie labels attached to them.

Levain Bakery
167 W. 74th St (NE corner off Amsterdam)
(212) 874-6080


Brownie said...

Very interesting. I have to say when I first looked at your pics, I thought, SCONES!!

Anonymous said...


Thanks for the shoutout but with all due respect, as wonderful as all my Levain food porn is, and it is wonderful, and as much praise as I've poured onto Levain, I've only given respect to the Chocolate chip walnut cookie as being the best I've ever had. Ever wondered why there's no oatmeal raisin pics? Well it's because the oatmeal raisin is weak. I'm disappointed you didn't have a transcendant experience at Levain. You MUST go back and you must get the chocolate chip walnut cookie.

You also didn't follow my directions and heat the cookie up at all did you? They're all significantly more delicious when warm/hot.

Hope I dont come off sounding too high and mighty with this response, I just take Levain very seriously. It's definitely one of my favorites in this entire city and has NEVER disappointed me.

Anonymous said...

From the first picture, it did look like a brownie and a scone... how about the saying that a rose by any other name smells just as sweet? I have not gone all the way to UWS for this cookie, but it has been very tempting. Now I might have to wait to visit that all in one shot along with some other bakeries.

Anonymous said...


You know I wouldn't steer you wrong. Levain's cookies are worth a trip to the upper west side alone. Get nothing but the Chocolate Chip Walnut and if it's not warm then ask them to heat it up for a little bit. It's infitessimally better.

Grandaisy bakery, breakaway from sullivan street bakery, is on 72nd street. Jacque Torres Chocolates is on the next block and they have quality chocolate chip cookies as well.

Unfortunately, there really arent many other great bakeries up near there unless you want magnolia, buttercup, or crumbs for cupcakes.

Siobhan said...

I DID follow your instructions and the dark chocolate would make a very good brownie for a sundae. I will go back for a chocolate walnut. Danny, you're welcome to come with.

Anonymous said...

I agree with nyc food guy, the chocolate chip walnut is glorious!
I had one yesterday and wrote about it in my blog :)