Freshly baked cookies studded with chocolate and nuts can be described in one of two ways: good and great. But the chocolate chip walnut cookie from Levain Bakery (167 West 74th Street, 212-874-6080; 2167 Frederick Douglass Boulevard, 646-455-0952) transcends greatness, beelining from the oven into a realm of unimagined bliss. Ours is an imperfect world. Yet for the two minutes or so it takes to devour this sizable slab of golden-brown goodness, everything is in its right place. Jarring reality anxiously awaits your return, so chew slowly.
All baked goods benefit from obscene amounts of butter, and Levain’s masterpiece is no exception. But their cookie succeeds where pedestrian junk foods fail, bringing a yin/yang balance to its flavor, texture, and consistency. Scattered morsels of dark chocolate anchor the sweetness of the dough, allowing a faint saltiness to declare its presence. The gooey center provides textural relief in the form of crunchy, half-crushed walnuts. The outer crust speaks of an almost biscuit-like quality.
Hardly a city secret, you are likely to endure a (fast-moving) line for the privilege of forking over $4 for a cookie. But we all know of the rewards bestowed upon those who wait, and many folks walk away from here so enamored, they’re left craving a cigarette. A glass of cold milk is far preferable.
The Village Voice is counting down to our Best of New York City issue in October. We’re combing the city every day, one dish at a time, to guide you to the most delicious food in NYC. These are our 100 Favorite Dishes for 2015, in no particular order, save for the top 10.
Here’s our countdown up to now:
#100: Laminated Blueberry Brioche at Dominique Ansel Kitchen
#99: Egg Shop’s Golden Bucket Fried Chicken
#98: Ramen Lab’s Torigara Shoyu
#97: Cannoli at Ferdinando’s
#96: Breakfast Sandwich at Dimes
#95: Banana Royal at Eddie’s Sweet Shop
#94: Fletcher’s Burnt Ends
#93: Almayass’s Mante
#92: Empellon Taqueria’s Fish Taco
#91: El Rey’s Sardine Tostada
#90: General Tso’s Pig’s Head at the Cannibal
#89: The Vegetarian at Meat Hook Sandwich Shop
#88: The 21 Club’s Creamy Chicken Hash
#87: Deep-Fried Olives at Via Carota
#86: Pougi at Loi Estiatorio
#85: Shelsky’s Hot Pastrami Sandwich
#85: Pearl & Ash’s Smoked Bread with Chicken Butter
#84: Gluten-Free Pizza at Rossopomodoro
#83: Perry St’s Chocolate Pudding With Candied Violets
#82: Whit’s End’s ‘Fuckin’ Bluefish Dip’
#81: Morgenstern’s Salt and Pepper Pine Nut Ice Cream