Tuesday, July 9, 2013

A Sweet Start: The City Bakery

TL;DR: ★★★★☆

Really good food and drinks but slightly pricey for what they are. Perfect spot for catching up with friends, though it's a little loud. Not the friendliest staff.

Food/drink: ★★★★★
Ambiance: ★★★★☆
Staff: ★★★☆☆

Price: $
Number of visits: 2

5th Ave. & 18th St.

So, for my first "review," I thought I'd start with something sweet (no surprise there): The City Bakery in the Flatiron District.

I went here today during my break from work, and it was pretty crowded, despite the time of day (around 2 p.m.). The layout was pretty cool: Coffee bar and pastries were in the middle as an island, salad and pasta bar was along the back with sandwiches and a juice bar — all on the first floor. The second floor had more seating and bigger tables.

From the coffee island, I bought some peanut butter cookies ($0.75 each) and hot chocolate, which I forgot to photograph (oops).

These were DIVINE. Definitely the most dense, rich and flavorful peanut butter cookie I had ever had. They were very soft and buttery, but they really make you reach for your water because they're so rich. They were also a little crumbly (more than I would prefer), but the perfect balance of sweet and slightly salty made up for it. 

The hot chocolate was equally delicious and rich, probably one of the best I'd had. It was one of those very thick chocolate drinks made for sipping, as opposed to the Nesquick or Swiss Miss mixes, which you can pretty much chug if it's cool enough. This drink really does need to be sipped on, or else, you'll be reaching for that water again, and soon, your bladder will start yelling at you. 

Now that I've touched on the good parts of this place, here are some of the cons:

  • Noise level: I guess for a cafe, I can't really complain about it being loud, but at the same time, I think I would've had a more pleasant experience if the room wasn't filled with not only people talking over each other but also the clanking and tumbling of the equipments and appliances. I'm probably being a bit too picky about this, but it was a bit too noisy for me.
  • Staff: The staff here is definitely not the friendliest. They're not rude or crass either, but they could be a little warmer and smile every once in a while. When I asked if there was a menu for the coffee bar (which is also another con — what place doesn't have a menu? Are you just supposed to guess what they have and how much they cost? I know it's a coffee bar, so it's easy to assume what they'll have, but come on. It's not hard to have a piece of paper hanging on top), they flatly told me no, without any kind of explanation, and during the entire transaction, they were just very cold and curt. Maybe it was because of the clusterfuck that surrounded them...
  • Price: The taste and quality of the food are certainly top-notch, don't get me wrong, but I'm not sure if the prices accurately reflect them. $5 for hot chocolate, $4.50 (or something) for a latte and — get this — $7.50 for a thing of juice: How is that not crazy? I know we're in NYC, but seriously, you do not have to mark up the prices that high to profit. Like I said, the food and drinks are great, but City Bakery, you are pretty damn overpriced.
Now despite these cons, I would certainly come back here for a quick bite (their salad, pasta and sandwiches seemed pretty good too) or to catch up with a friend again over some coffee and tasty treats. I do wish they'd consider making some changes, but that's me being nitpicky again. 

So, that's pretty much all I have to say about this place and thus the end of my first review ... Yay! Did I do it right? Is this OK? Am I being paranoid? 

Oh, well. Until next time.

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