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Underwhelmed by first cronut experience

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I had some free time, so recently decided to make an expedition downtown for the infamous cronets at Dominique Ansel.

First, the line. Got there around 6:30am, and I think I was handed my doughnut sometime after 10:00am. Which in my opinion is not a reasonable wait. I optimistically thought I'd be forking over my $10 around 8:30, and had I known the real wait-time, I don't think I would have done it. (A tip to anyone who wants to seize on an opportunity: someone who came around with a coffee cart could make a tidy sum, I think.)

Considering that D.A. knows about the craze, this seems poorly organized. I'm sure that a sizable number of people are there only to nab two doughnuts, as I was, and if they had any sense, they would set up something like an express line. For that matter, they should charge an odd basic number, like $9.15 or $10.10 or whatever it would be, so that, adding in tax, people could just zip along and hand over a $10, or $11.

On top of that, there was exactly one guy, working as both cashier and bagger, for a line of over 100 people, who was sauntering at a pace better suited to a small town in the midwest. I felt like telling him he should study the people behind the counter of any midtown shop where people pick up breakfast on the way to work, where the staff operates at top speed.

And then, I had to wonder...why all in the morning? They were baking other things while I was there, and I couldn't help but muse that it didn't seem like a great idea to have a product sold in a way that would exclude most working people.

As for the actual cronut, I didn't get to eat it right away, although I know that's ideal. But I was well within the time frame they warn you about. So I happily settled down to focus on what I expected to be a sublime experience with a cup of coffee. First, I tried to cut it. It was like leather. Even with the serrated knife that D.A. advises, it was still so stubborn that I had to keep hacking away at it until I gave up. Then, I had to admit that I found the dollop of icing on top rather off-putting. It reminds me of the worst kinds of doughnuts. Doughnuts, in my view, need a light glaze, not a slathering of thick icing. It was ostensibly the fig-and-mascarpone, but you never would have guessed. Hardly any fig flavor.

Now, was it any good? Absolutely. I ended up peeling the layers D.A.'s alternative suggestion), and I really enjoyed it. Subtle, interesting flavor, and nice inner texture, apart from the leathery outside. But was it worth all those hours standing in line? I doubt I'd do it again.

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  1. So far I have tried the cronuts on four separate occasions.
    My last trial was back in July, and I found the texture was noticeably more chewy and the amount of vanilla cream was far less than the cronuts I had tasted previously since day 2. It also became overly sweet. It was not worth waiting any longer. I haven't been back since then.

    8 Replies
    1. re: kosmose7

      Have you tried the dough'ssant from ChikaLicious Dessert Club? Returned for another try last Friday after my dinner at Ko. They now have a few different types, but the original is the best. I bought an original, a creme brulee and a caramel coated. I think they all had a bit too much cream inside (definitely have a napkin nearby). The creme brulee and the caramel coated were a bit too sweet/rich for me and I love sweet things. I'll stick with the original next time. Stll not planning to spend 3 1/2 hours waiting in line for a cronut, while I can buy a dough'ssant with less than a 5 minute wait. I don't care how "divine" the cronut may be.

      1. re: ellenost

        Yes, yes!!

        Dough'ssant used to have many layers at the beginnig (thus it easily fell apart) but now the dough seems a bit different with less layers (not necessarily for the worse, but just different).

        I loved creme brulee dough'ssant, which is also sold at Treehaus midtown.

        I had creme brulee dough'ssant again at ChikaLicious Dessert Club a few days ago, and I found it now has a little less cream. Not as great as it used to be (and less messy when you eat it, lol), but still good. And much better than Cronut now IMHO.

        1. re: kosmose7

          Ahh yes! I too enjoy chickalicious's doughssant.. Good stuff! And no long wait!

          1. re: silencespeak

            Yes, I still like dough'ssant, especially creme brulee dough'ssant, although as I said, now it doesn't have as much cream as it used to... Why do all these good pastries have to change for the worse? I really don't know.... (weep)

            It used to be really awesome when it was just introduced (left photo), but now it is not as great as before (right photo).

             
             
          2. re: kosmose7

            I bought 3 dough'ssants when I saw them at Treehaus a few weeks ago...paid like $21 for 3 donuts...that's crazy no matter how good they may be.

            1. re: Monica

              I don't recall the dough'ssants bought at ChikaLicious to be $7 a piece (even I wouldn't spend that much money on a doughnut :-); or at least I hope I didn't).

              1. re: ellenost

                They're $5 each at Chikalicious, I believe. We tried them for the first time on Friday (creme brulee and caramel). They were fine, but didn't blow me away. I never understood what was so amazing-sounding about a croissant-donut hybrid, anyway.

      2. There is no food on Earth that I would stand on line for 3 1/2 hours to get.

        4 Replies
          1. re: plf515

            I wouldn't stand in line for that long even if they were free!

            1. re: Ttrockwood

              Free, baked by my sainted mother come back to life accompanied by Jesus!
              Maybe.

              1. re: ttoommyy

                3 1/2 hours is nothing. I will wait 1 year when I can get it at McDs.

          2. I think you are missing a piece of the psychology here. The long wait is like needing to get past the bouncer at the rope. If just anybody could get their hands on a cronut, people wouldn't eat it. It would have no cachet. It would be like a TastyKake.

            But you have tremendous status if you can shrug and say: "Cronuts? Meh. I've tasted better junk food."

            2 Replies
              1. re: ttoommyy

                I miss Krispy Kreme with the "hot" sign lit. I know they're still sold at Penn Station.

            1. Thank you for that helpful feedback. I'm going to have to wait on the experience, especially if it requires that amount of wait time early in the morning.

              1. I agree it's not worth a 2+ hours wait, that being said it's a delicious pastry and I'd recommend to anyone who wants to try it to get on the line on a weekday around 9-915.. There are usually only 20-30 people and it goes pretty fast. Last week I went twice (I live two blocks away and it's on my way to the office) and I waited 10 minutes the first time and 20 minutes the second.

                1. Walked right in at shortly after 10 today and secured the last cronut they had -- my first -- with virtually no wait.

                  It's good, I suppose, if a bit cloying. But not worth $5. And not nearly as good as the almond croissant and the Cannele de Bordeaux, both of which are close to perfect . . . and netther of which requires a wait.

                  1. Stood in line yesterday, it was good day since it was so warm out. Not impress at with the Cronut, but the DKA was great. I would go back for the DKA.

                    1. I had the cronut just once and loved it. It was crispy and chewy and creamy, all at the same time. This was late October when the flavor was apple. I'm now on the preorder list for January 4th.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: coasts

                        apparently one of the top words hoped not to be heard in the new year is cronut, so apologies in advance if i'm ruining your year so early on. i had the peanut/rum/caramel flavor today and again thought it was excellent.

                        past the hype and long lines and knockoffs and bouncers and scalpers, it's a fantastic pastry. there's nothing delicate about it. it's a heavy behemoth of fried dough with layers of cream filling, more like a doughnut than a croissant. in that, it's not something i could eat every day but i wouldn't pass up the opportunity to have one.

                      2. You could always fly to Vienna instead - I saw this last week in a little Christmas fair in Vienna - all food booths - but didn't try the Austrian take on this phenomenon!

                         
                        1. I think the DKA at Dominique Ansel bakery is better than the Cronut. Dominique agrees with me.

                          Personally, I rather stand in line for 20minutes at The Cinnamon Snail truck. Their pastries and donuts are just as good or better than the cronut I had last month.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Funkalicious

                            The DKA is fantastic. fortunately, there's no challenge in getting one.