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Pancakes at Clinton St. Baking Co.

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Hey hounds! I've been lurking (and appreciating your opinions) for a good long while; with this, I lurk no longer!

Please forgive the tone of my first post, as it is an annoyed question: Am I the only one who thinks $15 for a plate of pancakes is a joke? And they're not even that great! I defy anyone to make themselves a batch of buttermilk pancakes using the basic Cook's Illustrated recipe, and then, after scarfing them down, tell me that they don't blow away C St.'s.

I'm not putting the restaurant down, as everything else I've had there has been pretty damn good, and the portions are nice. It's just that when I think about the hype surrounding these pancakes, and that they're the go-to item, I just have to shake my head in wonder.

Am I alone in this?

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Clinton Street Baking Co.
4 Clinton St, New York, NY 10002

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  1. I have tried many times to get my pancakes at home to be as fluffy as Clinton St's (and yes using Cook's Illustrated's recipe), and they never quite get there, even when I whip the egg whites separately.

    Also: maple butter.

    I checked the menus at Bubby's, Sarabeth's, Locanda Verde, and the Breslin and they all have pancakes for $15 as well. Mailiano has them for $14. So while they're not at cheap at Clinton Street, they're not the only ones charging that much!

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    Locanda Verde
    377 Greenwich St, New York, NY 10013

    The Breslin
    20 W 29th St, New York, NY 10001

    1 Reply
    1. re: kathryn

      Hmm! Agreed that the CI recipe is not quite as fluffy, but not too far off; though I find this to be an advantage, as by the time one gets to middle of the CSBCo pancakes, they're almost gooey.

      As to prices, well, I still think paying that much for pancakes is on the silly side.

    2. I think there pancakes are good and as kathyrn said, they are on par with the pricing for pancakes compared to other places. But I do not think the pancakes are good enough to either wake up that early and wait for.

      1 Reply
      1. re: jester99

        That's why I go there on a mid-afternoon on a weekday. I've never waited.

        I personally think it's worth $15. I could probably get pancakes at a diner for third of the price, but it's not gonna be worth the calories.

      2. If one's not Brooklynphobic > there's a joint where the pancakes are twice as good as Clinton's Streets' and half the price. And walking over the Magnificent Bridge is free, and will peek your appetite < a most potent ingredient in any recipe.

        It ain't Tom's.

        So it's a beautiful Sunday morning, the sun is blazing. The air "seems" cleaner then you think is possible, you dust off your walkin' shoes and hit the road. You walk the Brooklyn Bridge understanding why you put up with so much crap that we NYers do. Holy Moses; you're in Brooklyn! Coming off The Bridge you ask a kind Brooklynite "which way is Smith Street". Without hesitation and with a smile of one who doesn't have to live paying Manhattan premiums at places like The Clinton St... you get the word. You meander The Streets; slowly being receptive to all around you. You might even catch a stickball game in progress while munching a hunk of the baguette you picked-up at Almondine in Dumbo after you'd walked down the many steps at the Brooklyn end of The Bridge, signifying you've reached the promised land. You're in William Bendix, Henry Miller, Walt Whitman, Ralph Kramden, Jackie Robinson... territory. About now, you're hunger is peeking and that's great > perfect timing > you've just turned onto Smith Street and you can smell; taste your stack of crispy edged, fluffy, banana and strawberry pancakes. The anticipatory river of maple flowing as veins of gold around and down the sides of the burnished plate sized disks. As you open the door, part the Madrid Red floor length curtains the fragrance of fresh brewed coffee confirms the worthiness of your mornings' efforts. You walk through the restaurant; turning your head left, right; then left again; marveling at the Pancakes... and happy, mouth filled patrons. Your pace quickens a bit, to the soulful latin music and so you can get to your table and order.

        You're walking through the restaurant, to get to the pastoral garden, with the stone fountain as it's centerpiece in the back. It's that kind of Sunday! On your way out-back, to the promised land, on your left you'll pass the kitchen. Stop, take a look, a smell; greet the cooks and wipe the droll from your lips.

        You're seated > you peruse the menu and right below (or above > I forget) the very good "by the way" Eggs Benedict, there it is...

        ... PANCAKES WITH FRESH FRUIT and maple syrup.

        $8.50 raised from $7.50 a while back. You might even think to yourself, particularly given these times, that pancakes shouldn't be; why are they, more then, what? $6.00. But your also thinking, giggling and internally smirking that The Clinton Street Bakery charges an outlandish $15. AND they have the chutzpah to charge extra if your request any more then the tiny ramekin of maple-butter syrup they provide. When they're charging what they do for pancakes and wont... < Outrageous! Simply taking advantage at that point.

        You ask for " Pancakes Crispy please, just to ensure you get them as such. 95+ percent of the time you needn't have mentioned crispy in your order; but just to be on the safe side...

        You get your breakfast (endless syrup placed on your table) > you relax... you eat, you talk; you smile; you're never rushed > oh baby!!! Sunday's were made for this.

        In summation: in comparison to The CSB & directly to the original posters' question...

        Better > much better Pancakes
        Cheaper < less expensive
        "Sometimes" on weekends a minimal wait
        Never a rushed feel... Hell it's Brooklyn Jake.

        3 Replies
        1. re: allenbank

          Oh yes > if you were wondering or have any interest...

          ...Cafe LuLuc 214 Smith St. Brooklyn.

          1. re: allenbank

            Man...I must be low class. I get my pancake fix at B&H on 2nd Ave and I'm happy!

            Tipsy

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            B&H
            127 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10003

            1. re: allenbank

              Thanks for this, AB. And very nice setup for the reveal!

          2. Bless you, howdini-
            A couple of years ago I trekked down to Clinton St Baking Co. to have pancakes because (seemingly) everyone on the board had been raving about them. MAJOR disappointment. Perhaps I have different expectations about pancakes, but I found these rather dry - served with insufficient syrup, butter, anything to moisten them up. I never dared to post here that these pancakes might not come close to being to everyone's taste. I admire your courage.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Jane A.

              Think nothing of it, Jane. This is the Internet, after all, and one can be as courageous (or just plain inquisitive) as one wishes.

            2. I just went here for breakfast yesterday and tried both the pancakes as well as potato pancakes. I waited about 25 minutes. I didn't really fancy the pancakes or the potato ones. I didn't find the food to be very good. It was crazy chaotic and I wouldn't go again or recommend it to anybody. Sorry......I really wanted to like those pancakes after all the hype.