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Jan 11, 2012 11:13 PM

Puddin' is great! Tried the new pudding establishment on St. Marks Place--YUM!

I'm surprised not to see any posts yet. I don't know if I can do a proper Chow-worthy first-ever write-up. I don't have any photos or profound insights, but I've been twice, and it's great.

They offer a bunch of flavors. I've tried the
Butterscotch (made with real scotch!)
Banana (sells out first!)
Peanut Butter (not usually available, but tell them you want it to get it onto the menu!)

They also have
Rice Pudding (I haven't tried yet, but they claim better than Rice to Riches!)
Chocolate (one of the owners said it's the best flavor they make)

And the ones that are left even late in the day:

They also offer a bunch of toppings (too many to list, but they include salted caramel, hot fudge, crushed ginger crunch cookies, banana cake, homemade sprinkles(!), and many more).

I went on Friday night--that was there opening day--arriving just as they ran out of banana (still had enough to pipe a little into a spoon to give me taste--it was great!). Instead, I tried the vanilla w/ salted caramel and the butterscotch. Both were really great--smooth, strong flavors, regressive yet sophisticated--a bit of Proust's madeleine and tilleul in that they make you feel like a kid, but they are definitely more adult flavors.

I went back Sunday--apparently too late because they had run out of everything except lemon and coconut (sorry, not doing it for me). I was really disappointed, but then they mentioned that they had a Mason jar of some sort of Elvis flavor (peanut butter pudding, chocolate bits, bananas, banana cake). I couldn't handle a whole jar and didn't want all that, but they were kind enough to offer me some of the special peanut butter pudding which I took w/ salted caramel (not much I won't put good caramel onto).

The peanut butter flavor was truly incredible. It almost stuck to the roof of my mouth. While their other puddings are really good, I've had really good butterscotch pudding and vanilla and banana elsewhere. I've never had any peanut butter pudding that approaches what they made. It was stunning, and I really want them to put it onto the menu (maybe they can drop the coconut and lemon!).

Aside from the pudding itself, there are some other things you should know. First, it's a small space, and they're just getting started. It seems to attract mostly the people who might otherwise be on St. Mark's place, so perhaps not the crowd we might find at most of the tables at EMP. The decor is lacking, but it's clean. There are a couple seats, but it's mostly cash and carry. The crew is remarkably friendly and totally professional, but in the most casual, can't-believe-this-is-happening manner. I spoke with one of the owners who said that they are hoping to expand to a larger location downtown and to other parts of the City (I encouraged him to come to the UWS which is where I live!). On my second visit, they explained that they are trying to work out the kinks so that they don't run out of product, but they only have a small space, they make everything right there, and the pudding needs time to set.

They also explained both times that they make absolutely everything from scratch--not just the puddings, but also all the toppings, including the sprinkles. It seems over the top for such a little place, but you can tell from the product and the pride they take in it--deservedly so.

Oh, and the chef, Clio, is right there, on each visit. She's the one who gave me the peanut butter pudding and wanted to know what I thought of it. It's a small personal operation, and everyone there seems to care about the product and the customer experience. I think most of them have an equity stake in the place, too!

It is worth the trip! (I went out of my way to go there on Friday, on a grand plan to follow-up attending the Good Wife Times Talk with a trip to La Cremaria and Puddin'. I was surprised to learn that this fabled gelato place was closed until March or something and hadn't realized it was Puddin's first day. I went back on Sunday because I was in the neighborhood for a food drive party and also had managed to witness a little of the pantless subway ride--so it was really an incidental treat on Sunday, not a primary destination, but from now on, I'll go every time I'm in the neighborhood, and I'll go now and then even when I'm not!).

Open 4 pm – 1 am.
102 ST. MARKS PLACE, between First Avenue and Avenue A.

Puddin' by Clio
102 St Marks Pl, New York, NY 10009

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  1. The chocolate cake -- which incorporates veins of two puddings, coffee and chocolate -- is also very good.

    Dave Cook

    1. I actually liked the coconut alot. I found the lemon overly sweet.

      1. This place needs to get its act together. I want to like it, but I haven't been able to try it. I thought it strange that it opens at 4 every day--how bizarre!--but walked by one day last week and they were open in the morning. Then, the day I actually wanted to try it, I walked by and there was a sign in the window that said "closed today." I made a second trip today--after 4--and the place is closed again, no sign of life, just a couple of FedEx delivery signs. Who knows if it's open or closed, but she can't expect to establish a business this way. I've made a special trip over there twice to try it. Not likely to happen again.

        Puddin' by Clio
        102 St Marks Pl, New York, NY 10009

        3 Replies
        1. re: equilibrist

          It is frustrating. They've been in business about a month. I went over the weekend, and they were out of everything--I think it was 9p. I will give them credit for making absolutely everything by hand from scratch (I still can't get over the idea that they make their own sprinkles!), but they do need to find a way to get their production up to the level of their sales.

          1. re: StevenCinNYC

            If they were out of everything, then their production is precisely up to the level of their sales. I do take your point, but Clio is in the fortunate position of not needing to scale up her operation, not till she's ready.

            Dave Cook

            1. re: DaveCook

              Very funny. So perhaps I should have said that they need to get their production up to a sufficient level to provide pudding throughout their posted hours? Otherwise, they could open at 4:00, sell out at 4:30, and by your strict interpretation of my original phrase, their production would still precisely equal their sales--point taken.

        2. I walked past two weeks ago and they had just made more pudding. It's just so expensive! I couldn't really justify spending that much on pudding.

          1 Reply
          1. re: beladona7

            $5.50 for a 8 oz is cheaper than most premium gelato shops and Rice to Riches. What's your basis for calling it expensive?

          2. I haven't posted on CH for a while, but I'm logging in to vent a little about this place. I absolutely love pudding in all forms - it's my favorite dessert, over cakes, cookies, ice cream, whatever. I went to the shop and tried what the employee considered to be three best puddings - butterscotch, banana, and rice. I didn't add any toppings other than a dollop of whipped cream on banana. I have to say I was pretty disappointed. Banana didn't taste like much beyond mashed bananas. Butterscotch tasted OK (I've had much better) but it was so loose, almost liquid in consistency. Not right. Rice was also OK - but considering how easy it is to make awesome rice pudding, quite disappointing. I bought two large containers and one regular, and it was around $25, which I wouldn't mind spending at all, but *IF* the product is worth it - but in my opinion, theirs is not. I may give them another chance - but I'd have to be convinced.

            Puddin' by Clio
            102 St Marks Pl, New York, NY 10009

            9 Replies
            1. re: uwsister

              UWSister: I'm very sorry to hear about your disappointing experience. While pudding preferences are certainly subjective, I can tell you that I liked their butterscotch, and on the occasions I've had I can say objective that it was far from loose or liquid. My disappointments have been arriving there to find that they are out of everything, but it sounds from your report as if they are also having quality control issues which was not my experience. I hope that they get it together. I wonder if you would like their product at its best--clearly from the consistency you report it was not their best day. I can tell you that I like the banana pudding at Magnolia (good not the best) and the rice pudding at Rice to Riches (some of the flavors are great in my opinion). Butterscotch pudding is one of my favorites, and I'm very picky about it--offhand I can't think of a great one, but I've only had them at restaurants, not shops, until I tried Puddin'.

              Magnolia Bakery
              401 Bleecker St, New York, NY 10014

              Rice to Riches
              37 Spring St, New York, NY 10012

              1. re: StevenCinNYC

                I went. I loved. The young lady is from Ohio which is good by me and while the individual flavors were all good it was the "blends" that really stood out - particularly the Caramel Macchiato with brownies mixed in to coffee and chocolate + caramel sauce. I also really liked the texture of the rice pudding, though compared to the versions at The Dutch and Junoon it was only "okay."

                Prices are high, but not overly so given the quality.

                Interestingly when I was there the Food Channel was there shooting a (totally scripted) piece, so I'm sure they'll be getting even more attention soon.

                Note they are open at 9am these days as well.

                I'd definitely go back and recommend people check it out.


                Puddin' by Clio
                102 St Marks Pl, New York, NY 10009

                1. re: StevenCinNYC

                  I'm very happy to read that my experience is not the norm - like I said, I'm a huge fan of pudding, and I'd been looking forward to this shop opening for a LONG time! There are however several Yelp reviews that mention the watery consistency of some of the puddings, so I do think they are having an issue with consistency. I hope that they will read those words and work on it. Certainly the availability of all the flavors had improved when I visited - warned by Yelp reviews, I'd expected at least some of the flavors to have run out, but in fact they had all the flavors available even in the late afternoon.

                  I wonder if their strength lies in those "blends" - I remember reading somewhere that they make all the toppings in-house (pretty impressive) and most of the "blends" certainly sound delicious. I should try one or two on my next visit. But of course, I'm hoping the puddings should be able to stand on their own. So I'm not ruling out that their style is simply not to my taste. I haven't really tasted a truly impressive butterscotch pudding in the States (as opposed to England) and I have to say I'm not a huge fan of Rice to Riches, finding most of their flavors way too sweet and preferring NYC deli-style. Magnolia does make a pretty delicious banana pudding though, as does Rack & Soul in UWS. Both were superior to Puddin' though I understand they are totally different in style.

                  So yeah, I would love to hear/read more reviews of Puddin' from more 'hounds so I can scheme my next visit! And a hug for you if you read all my nonsense about damn pudding of all things - but puddings are just so awesome!

                  Puddin' by Clio
                  102 St Marks Pl, New York, NY 10009

                  1. re: uwsister

                    I went back last night and spoke with Clio. She said that they've worked out productions problems, both in terms of not running out of pudding and in terms of the thinner consistency. They also offer little portions now so I was able to get three: vanilla with salt caramel, banana with banana bread, and butterscotch with whipped cream. They were all great. With your comments in mind, I paid attention to the consistency. None of them were runny at all, but the banana and vanilla were thinner than the butterscotch. I let Clio know, but it wasn't at all to the level that you described. The banana is probably the least exciting of the flavors I've tried, and I've had better in the South, but it's still very good. The vanilla is very nice, and the salt caramel is an incredible sauce that I totally recommend. The butterscotch remains a favorite for me--it's a very strong flavor, and it went well with the simplicity of the whipped cream.

                    I also stopped at La Cremaria for the first time (I tried a couple months ago when they were closed). Masimo was really nice, and the gelato is great. I had four flavors. The pistachio was the best I've ever had anywhere. The hazelnut, yogurt, and marscapone flavors were among the best I've had in the US and up there with Dino Gelato with Barcelona and San Crispino in Rome (and another great place whose name I can't recall in Florence). All his flavors are very powerful and have a great texture, but there's something about the pistachio that just takes it over the top for me.

                    I would agree with his assessment that he is significantly better than Grom. Having said that, however, I recently had the Grom Caramello flavor, and it was really great, and he doesn't have that flavor (at least not at this point). I encouraged him to add it.

                    He also told me that he is starting to offer his gelato through Corrado Bread at 960 Lexington Ave (near 70th).

                    1. re: StevenCinNYC

                      I agree - really enjoyed Puddin' - though it is pretty pricey.


                      1. re: uhockey

                        Glad you like it. As to the price, please see my comment above--expensive compared to what?

                        1. re: StevenCinNYC

                          It's not cheap, but it's not *that* pricey IMO, compared to Rice to Riches, etc. I haven't been back yet, but I'm willing to try it again since I'm a huge fan of pudding in general. I do want to note that I wasn't the only one who experienced problem with the consistency - there are quite a few Yelp reviews that say the same thing. Anyway I'm gonna try to be back within next few days, will report back too.

                    2. re: uwsister

                      I am a big pudding fan. I am on St Marks frequently and never noticed this place. The difference in opinion has raised my interest. I will try to check it out today and report back. Banana sounds most interesting to me.

                      1. re: foodwhisperer

                        Do report back and let me/us know if the consistency has improved!