I had been to Momofoku Ssäm Bar several times before I realized Milk Bar was tucked in the back, or outside and around the corner if you prefer that option. There’s usually a bit of a line, but not to fret. It moves quickly and, in my opinion, is well worth the wait and, these days, the additional time spent out in the cold. Anything like this which pops up in so many different places and endorsed by many big names (such as Martha Stewart and the Silver Fox, ehem, I mean Anderson Cooper) is something I’m curious to try if only to say no, so not worth the hype. I actually ended up back there at one point waiting to be seated for Ssäm Bar and (for shame) thought it was just their to-go/waiting area. So wrong! And yet I come back and continue to do so. I fear this one’s a keeper.
The first time I went, I felt compelled to have their crack pie, the selection which seems to be referenced in interviews everywhere. The tiny slices (when compared to the other pies) of which go for $5.25 closest resemble a Southern Chess Pie and not too far from an Ooey Butter cake a la Paula Dean. Don’t cringe, now. I’m agreeing that this is much better. It’s denser, yet not overwhelmingly buttery. I really like the toasted oat crust, just a slight variation in taste from the standard graham cracker option. If you’ve never been, it’s where you’ve gotta start.
On subsequent trips back, I have branched out. Their soft serve is outstanding and the offerings change up regularly. One of their staples, cereal milk, is my favorite. Add cornflake crunch on top and you are set. I tried their pumpkin pie soft serve around Thanksgiving time and found it too be too pumpkin and almost not taste sweet enough. Lesson learned – back to cereal milk I go. I also tried their cinnamon bun pie, which to me feels like breakfast. It’s like a reconstructed cinnamon roll, with the icing layer falling in the middle and incorporating a generous helping of cream cheese. Warm it up, and it’s a dash of breakfast at any time of the day.
Recently @Catty was in town from London and showed up for brunch with some extra Milk Bar cookies, all which were new to me. My favorite was probably the Blueberry & Cream Cookie, which had dried blueberries and milk crumbs. It’s to the cookie selection what the cinnamon bun pie is to the pies. To me, it was like a cookie version of a blueberry muffin, and managed to somehow taste freshly baked even though it was several days old at that point. I was also a fan of their trademarked compost cookie, made of pretzels, potato chips, coffee, oats, butterscotch, and chocolate chips. A perfect balance of sweet and savory landing just a tad to the savory side.
Finally, my current favorite (and probably most dangerous find) would be the birthday cake truffles. There are certain cakes Milk Bar makes which you cannot buy slices of. The chances of my needing a full cake? Slim to none. However, fear not! For just $3, you can get 3 truffles of each of the cakes. It’s sort of like an option to try. A snack in the grocery aisle. Just a bit of dessert – not enough to ruin your dinner, yet enough sweet to satisfy the cravings of your sweet tooth. It’s crumbled up rainbow cake, sprinkles, and vanilla frosting. If you have to get the Crack Pie on your first visit, okay, fine. If so, get the birthday cake truffles to go. Trust me!
Momofoku Milk Bar
East Village: 207 2nd Avenue @ E 13th Street
Midtown: 15 W 56th Street (between 5/6 Avenue)