Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The Turducken of baked goods at Andre's

This past weekend, my good friend BD from home and his girlfriend MM were in town. We met up over dinner at Cavatappo Grill, that old standby, and then released ourselves onto the UES streets in search of dessert. What would satisfy our cravings? We swung by Two Little Red Hens, jonesin' for some cupcakes and pie, only to find it closed. For shame. Onward we went, one block south, to Andre's for some Hungarian treats.

AV and I had hit up this little secret before, finding the edibles sweet and the employees sour. This time around, the service wasn't quite so brusque-- not exactly touchy-feely either, but at least they didn't seem angry that we were there. That was an improvement. The four of us grabbed a table and selected our snacks; a few moments later, the goodies arrived.

Both AV and MM went with the chocolate croissant. These were large and graced with a flurry of powdered sugar, but if you're looking for a classical, flaky French croissant, these are not it. The dough was stretchy and dense, almost like a breakfast bread or a heavier cinnamon roll dough. On the plus side, the chocolate inside was well distributed, and the whole thing came together well in a finish of chocolate and brown sugar.

About the size of a Hutch football

My choice was the vanilla roulade, a slice of chocolate cake spiraled with vanilla creme and a center of jellied cherry. I stuck to the center of the treat, where the cake had absorbed some of the cherry liquid and was tasty and moist. The cake around the exterior was a bit dry; no matter, as I was only able to finish about a half or two thirds of the treat before I gave up.

You can see the moisture in the middle

But there was no giving up on the part of BD, the evening's champion. He ordered what Andre's euphemistically calls "Chocolate Mousse Cake," a slice that turns out to be a previously undiscovered concoction combining chocolate cake, chocolate mousse, cheesecake, and chocolate ganache icing. This was unquestionably the Turducken of baked goods: Gancheemoucake, or perhaps Moueese'ganake. Regardless, BD tucked in with the vigor of a veteran, demolishing first the cake and the cheesecake and then, finally, with a few heroic bites, the thick layer of mousse. Dammmmmmn.

Hard to believe this actually exists

At that point, it was pretty much all we could do to roll ourselves to the curb and our respective destinations. We definitely had a good time at Andre's, but I'm still on the ambivalent side-- the place doesn't have a whole lot of atmosphere, and without careful ordering, you can definitely find better baked goods elsewhere. However, if you're in the mood for strudel or rugelach or one of their specialties, or if you're simply in a pastry pinch (damn you, Two Little Red Hens!), stop on by and check it out-- at the very least, it's a neighborhood institution.

1631 Second Avenue, between 84th and 85th Streets

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