photo credit: Dan Ahn
Rather than calling itself a bakery, this Flatiron spot is billed as “a gallery of confections.” You start your experience by heading up a set of concrete stairs to a minimalist gallery that wouldn’t be out of place in the Chelsea art world—only instead of paintings, the folks milling about the space are analyzing resin replicas of what they’re about to order.
Unlike some viral desserts, the confections at Lyseé actually taste good. The bulk of their signature items are made with mousses, custards, and creams, like the Corn mousse cake (which looks like an actual ear of corn) and the caramel-praline Lyseé that’s such a standout they literally named it after the place. There are also cookies, viennoiserie, and a trio of loaf cakes if jiggly creams aren’t your thing.
Even though sweets are the only thing on the menu, this is a real, serious restaurant, and we highly recommend you get your food to stay. The flatware is matte gold, the tables are a speckled background-beige, and the signature latte, made with a brown-rice-and-vanilla-infused milk, is served in a clear double-walled mug so you can see the drink’s frothy layers.
At present, Lysee doesn’t take reservations or online orders. You might have to stand in an hour-long line for your desserts, but they’ll serve you a little cup of iced chamomile tea while you wait your turn to wander the aisles of pastry. Once you get there, you can engage in the time-honored New York gallery debate: Is it art?
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This is the dish that first made Chef Eunji Lee go viral. It looks like corn, and it tastes, very pleasantly, like corn. If you like Milk Bar’s cereal milk ice cream, you’ll love this. It has similar notes of cornflakes and sweet milk, but has a little more depth because it uses real corn (you can see the kernels inside the mousse) that’s been grilled to bring out the savory notes.
There’s a certain type of influencer who compulsively applies Byredo hand cream and is always decked out in tastefully chunky gold jewelry and a black ribbed matching workout set. This is the dessert equivalent of that person. It's a study in minimalism, and it tastes like a Ferrero Rocher that’s been given the #beigelifestyle treatment.
Even in the world of elaborate pastries, simpler is often better. Lyseé’s take on the Saint Honoré isolates and amplifies the flavors of vanilla and caramel. There’s also a very tiny choux on top, and that’s just too cute not to love.
Teddy Bear Duo
This is the only dessert we’ve tried at Lyseé that we didn’t love. Unless your sole reason for getting this is to take a video of yourself decapitating chocolate-covered teddy bear cookies with a chic gold butter knife, skip it. The madeleine itself was dry, and the chocolate is too thick and too sweet to be enjoyable.
What makes this latte special is not drizzles of chocolate and caramel, over-the-top garnishes, or mountains of some kind of foam. It’s the deceptively simple tweaks they make to the milk. French sea salt, brown rice, and Madagascar vanilla bean, as it turns out, taste great in a latte. If you want a coffee drink that is both beautiful and not aggressively sweet, you need this in your life. You can also buy a little glass bottle of the milk to take home, if you find yourself wanting it in all of your caffeinated beverages.