Restaurants & Bars

Manhattan

BEAR CLAWS and CINNAMON TWISTS

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BEAR CLAWS and CINNAMON TWISTS

john farago | Jun 13, 2003 07:23 AM

Repast, on Lexington Avenue between 91st and 92nd Streets is a small bakery/restaurant/cafe opposite the 92nd Street Y. It's run by a startlingly un-New York woman who moved here from the Northwest about 2 years ago and has been trying to make a go of the kind of place that easily thrives in most cities with an active cafe culture.

What makes the place uinique -- other than small things about ambience -- is that in among a run of salads and breads and quiches and soups that are all home made and range from not-my-taste to quite good (averaging close to the high end of the run), there are two items that are simply better than you can find anyplace else in NYC (or at least than I have been able to find).

The place makes bear claws and cinnamon twists that are simply off the scale. Any scale. In a town where the average level of danish pastry is seeking new lows daily, these things are revelatory. Dense, flaky, intensely flavored, profoundly buttery, a bit of an surprise in the sense that you can't quite place at first what it is about each that's simulatneously different and just right (for me, it's the raspberry jame in the bear claws and the slight orange flavor in the sugar glaze of the cinnamon twists). But the bottom line is that it's no one thing about either of them; they just get it all right -- texture, taste, heft, sweetness and light.

I have spent some time pleading with Debbie Brindley (the baker/owner) to make these in a smaller size so I could get them for parties or events, and she relented some time back and I have since offered them to a variety of gatherings at my work, my wife's, and our home. Every time we put them out, the poeople who know food sidle up to one of us and ask where they came from.

I would go a long way for an equally good cheese danish if I could find one, something with enough cheese, a smooth enough fiilling, the odd raisin here and there, and a sincerely buttery and dense dough filled with pockets of air. I'd similarly buy abn airplane ticket to anypolace that still had a trove of chocolate chip cookies from the old Ogee Dining Rooms in suspended animation (the cookies started oozing butter into the brown paper bag before you hit the door). But these two items go a very long way to making danish life liveable for me.

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