Normally, we wouldn't offer a full review to a dessert bar. With all due respect to sweet spots like Levain Bakery, Jacques Torres, ChikaLicious, Magnolia and Led Zeppole, there's one thing they lack that Milk Bar doesn't - pork buns. David Chang deprived Midtown's new Momofuku establishment, Má Pêche, of his famous pork fat sandwiches, possibly to avoid over-saturating the marketplace 90's baseball card style. Whatever the reason, my dreams of noshing on them for lunch in Midtown have been crushed, so this drive-by buns situation in the East Village now warrants a full review.
People go Justin Bieber crazy over Milk Bar. They've either got the fever, checking back daily for the new soft serve flavors and vying with Nathan A. for foursquare mayorship . Or, they despise the place and every wannabe food blogger/poser that's obsessed with it. In the beginning, The Infatuation was split. I was incredibly skeptical. On the flip side, Stang had (and still has) a boner the size of Florida for the stupid rotating soft serve flavors and compost cookies - which are trademarked, just in case you needed to know that. The menu thought you did. Personally, I think the ice cream flavors are ridiculous. Jelly Doughnut? Cream Cheese Frosting? Peach Tea? They're trying a little too hard here and the majority of the fruit flavors taste like soft serve cough medicine. I'm more of a traditionalist. I like my chocolate chip cookies without cornflakes and marshmallows, my soft serve from Mister Softee with rainbow sprinkles and my birthday cake made of ice cream instead of hippie goo-bars and frosting. Over time, I learned to check my aforementioned traditional palate at the door and accept these crazy dessert creations with an open mind. With every passing day I warm up to Milk Bar more and more. The cookies and cakes seem to get better with each visit, but it's the pies that helped me turn the corner. Both the Crack Pie and Candy Bar Pie are incredible and reason enough to wait on line.
Changes have negatively affected Milk Bar recently. They stopped serving slices of the pies and cakes, forcing people to buy the whole thing instead. Apparently, at $5 a slice, they weren't making enough profit. Customer outrage led to the restoration of pie slices (not cake), at $5.25 a slice. D.Chang really needed that extra quarter I guess. Even worse, they pulled the breakfast pork and egg bun off the menu which is brutal. That enormous pork bun was a staple in my hangover rotation. To sum this all up: Milk Bar gets a full review and bonus points for buns, negative points for bad ice cream and messing around with the menu, but that's all forgotten thanks to the Crack Pie.
The Chocolate Chip Cake doesn't taste at all how it looks. That vanilla frosting you see is actually passion fruit curd, which is too intense for us. We prefer the Banana Cake (banana cream, hazelnut crunch, gianduja fudge) or even the over the top, sugar rush city Birthday Cake (rainbow cake crumble, sprinkles, vanilla frosting).
Flavors rotate every couple weeks, so don't fall to hard for one because it'll be gone in no time. As discussed above, we find most of the fruit flavored ice cream to be close to inedible. But there are definitely some winners on occasion, usually in the form of cereal flavors. Fruity Pebbles is a hit, as is Honeycomb and we're even suckers for their popular Cereal Milk flavor. The cornflake crunch topping aint half bad either.Pies
Crack Pie, easily one of the greatest creations in the history of the world. Pie crust filled with an amazing caramel flavored butter pie. So f'ing good. Also, that chocolate crusted Candy Bar Pie doesn't suck either.Cookies
I've been known to bitch about the fact that their marshmallow and corn flake cookies are too cute, too oily and overall just too complex for a basic chocolate chip cookie. I eat my words when handed a piping hot one, fresh out of the oven. That's how their Cornflake Choc Chips are meant to be eaten. Their Compost cookies aren't my thing, but apparently the rest of the world loves them and their pretzels, potato chips, coffee, oats, butterscotch and chocolate chips. Peanut butter fans should definitely mess around with the Peanut Butter Cookie and the newest addition to the mix, the Confetti Cookie is a good time as well.Pork Buns
Full buns write-up in the Momofuku Ssäm review. I was going to copy and paste it in here, but this review is already way too long.