April 27, 2006 1:52 AM | By Adam Roberts | 11 Comments

You're So Levain (The City's Best Chocolate Chip Cookie at Levain Bakery)

There are certain bloggers who are known for getting the scoop. They break big news stories, create political scandals, get interviewed on CNN. And then there's me: Mr. Laggy. Let me be known as the blogger, specifically the food blogger, who comes very late to whatever phenomenon is at issue. In this case the phenomenon is The Levain Bakery and the cookies sold there.


[Pay no attention to the man on the bench. He's Craig, aka Mr. "I insist on being in this picture but I'll pretend otherwise if anyone asks!"]

I first learned of the Levain Bakery when that distinguished Parisian Clotilde came to New York and wrote about it on her site. A reader tipped her off that Levain's would be "the best cookies of her life" and Clotilde confirms this in her assessment: "This was exactly my kind of cookie -- crispy chunky chewy and all manner of adjectives rhyming with "-y".

I catalogued this information in that vessel known as my brain and because Mr. Picture Hog and I, Mr. Laggy, planned a day uptown I'd jotted down the address just in case we were close by. And sure enough, by late afternoon, we found ourselves on 74th on the west side of the park.

"Let us journey down this street," I commanded. "And enjoy cookies between Amsterdam and Columbus."

"Ok, Mr. Bossy," quipped Craig.

We descended the stairs of Levain and allowed the aroma of cookies and bread to wash over us. The man there was quite jovial and quite understanding as we took our time to make cookie decisions. We ultimately decided to share both a chocolate chip cookie and the one Clotilde raved about, the dark chocolate peanut butter. Here they are in that order:


Here's our assessment.







Specifically, we found the chocolate chip cookie to embody all the joyous attributes that flour, sugar, and chocolate chips can bring. It was mounded in the middle, so it was super thick and super rich. Also: it was warm out of the oven, so we devoured it.

The chocolate peanut butter cookie was not warm, but we still devoured it.

In conclusion, though I may be late to the game I still stepped up to plate and having batted against Levain Bakery's cookie I can say, with great integrity, it's a ______.

[Please note. That last sentence ended with a blank space because if I'd written what I intended to write--"grand slam" or "home run"--I would have lost my writer's card for writing the lamest sentence ever. I hope you understand.]


Wow, those cookies look great. I'll be in New York next week, so I'll definitely have to try them. Especially after being unimpressed with Magnolia when I checked it out last month.

"Home run" - that sounds like what a Japanese commercial would say. Nevertheless, the full meaning of that sentence is completely apparent. Oh, and the cookies look fabulous as well. I think a trip to New York is in need of planning...

glad you finally caught on to levain...one of my best friends lives across the street and i find it hard to resist the call of the dark chocolate peanut butter cookie every time i visit her.... :)

ok, levain cookies are a bit of an obsession. I work at a shitty job and the bakery is only like 8 blocks away. so when it gets really bad i go get cookies for me and two other coworkers that i can handle. i looove the chocolate chip, though it used to be much better, messier and mushier. i dare say it's gone downhill. but a friend of mine who worked there let me in on the fact that they used premium chocolate in the chocolate chocolate chip and that i should try that.

Hey Adam! Longtime lurker, first-time poster. These cookies sound a lot like the ones we have here in Philadelphia at the Famous Fourth Street Cookie Co. Chunky, chewy and usually melty on the inside, fresh from the oven. To die for. Wow, this sounds like an ad for them...I swear, I'm just a fan! :-)

Whoa, you ate like half a pound of cookies! BTW, I posted their cookie recipes.

Depends on how you look at it..I used to live on the second floor above Levains!

Call it a blessing or a curse...those aromas starting to fill the house at 5 in the morning!


I just discovered Levain last week. LOVED the dark chocolate chocolate cookie and their chocolate chip walnut. NOT a huge fan of the dark chocolate peanut butter (despite the recommendation of some customer who happened to be there at the time) -- something about the peanut butter chips was left wanting. If you want a good peanut butter cookie, definitely the nutter butter from Bouchon Bakery is a must -- an absolute must.

I've had these cookies, absolutely amazing!!! Well worth the visit to Levain's. I send as many people there are as possible. I believe everyone should experience them.

These are the absolute BEST cookies anywhere! Was in NY last week and have been looking for a recipe that comes close to them anywhere...to no avail. However, more trips to NY will be forthcoming!

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