Pastry virtuoso Dominique Ansel is at it again. And no, it’s not a new crazy dessert combination. The chef is, instead, intermingling his innovative bakery with the operations of a restaurant kitchen. Dominique Ansel Kitchen (137 Seventh Avenue South) will be bringing made-to-order desserts and pastries to the West Village sometime late spring.
No, this new location will not be a second outpost for the Cronut, the DKA, the cookie shot, the frozen s’more, or any of the existing pastries Ansel is famous for. It’s completely different, according to the chef. The high-end offshoot of Dominique Ansel Bakery will offer table service, wine pairings, and fresh desserts prepared with the efficiency of a restaurant kitchen. “A lot of people ask me, ‘What’s the next hybrid pastry?’ ” says Ansel. “I say, ‘I’m creating a hybrid bakery.’ ”
The idea ultimately came from Ansel’s desire to innovate, but the renowned pastry master also believes that customers are ready for it. He equates the new concept to that of coffee: A decade ago, most Americans were willing to drink the harsh joe that had been sitting in a pot for hours on end. Interest in high-end and artisanal products has spiked; these days, you’re more likely to see someone ordering a pour-over or freshly pulled latte than drip from a bodega. Ansel believes that sense of excitement and awareness has translated to pastry, too.
The vast majority of the items on the menu will be made to order (in less than three minutes), but some dishes will be prepared ahead of time. “Some things like tiramisu or opera cake need to be made beforehand,” says Ansel. “They taste better when they sit; some are even better the next day.”
Expect to see Ansel’s modern approach to classics like vanilla ice cream or chocolate mousse. For the former, he plans to add just-scraped vanilla bean right before it’s served. The mousse will have the chocolate cream folded in seconds before it’s placed on the table. “Most chocolate mousse sits in the fridge,” says Ansel. “This is creamy and smooth with a fresh texture. I would always taste the mousse as I was making it and it was so much better when it’s fresh.”
Look, too, for warm savory and sweet croissants. In his new variation of the pain au chocolat, Ansel plans to top each one with high-quality shredded chocolate, then toast it, so it comes out melted and decadent.
Just like the bakery, Dominique Ansel Kitchen will work with the seasons. In the summer, he’ll be sourcing fresh fruit from the market. Chocolate and similar ingredients will be prevalent. Ansel has not released an opening menu yet.
Aside from the sit-down format, Ansel also plans to offer even more exclusive experiences. After the eatery closes, he will be hosting tasting menus for eight to ten people at his chef’s table, UP (short for Unlimited Possibilities), in the upstairs kitchen. Cocktail or wine pairings will be an option.
Dominique Ansel Kitchen is slated to be open from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily.