It seems that there was a lot of fanfare and huge anticipation when Dominique Ansel announced that he would be opening his eponymous bakery in Tokyo. After gaining worldwide fame for the cronut, it still amazes me that people are willing to wait in line for more than three hours for one more than three years later.
It seems that if Dominique Ansel has not had the type of warm reception he was expecting. Although lines snaked around the building after the bakery first opened, things have quieted down quite quickly. It appears that one of the main problems with the Tokyo outpost is not adapting quickly enough to the Japanese palate.
Although sugar levels were decreased, and the use of more Japanese “flavors” are being utilized, the main complaint still seems to be that everything is “too sweet”.
I had been reading that one does not have to endure a multi-hour wait in hopes of getting their sugar coated hands onto a cronut. In fact, cronuts were usually available even mid-morning.
I arrived in the early afternoon, hoping that a stray cronut or two was left hanging around. Like the New York branch, only two cronuts per customer here.
Upon entering the store, it has a bright and vibrant atmosphere. Several glass counter parade the expertly decorated sweets.
I was informed that I had just missed out on the last of the cronuts. With my hopes dashed, I figured I had come all this way, and might as well get something.
I decided to get the DKA (Dominique’s Kouign Amann), which is like a croissant with a caramelized exterior. The pastry is shaped like a purse, giving it more nooks and crannies to get crispy and crunchy. To be honest, it was okay. Perhaps I was expecting fireworks to shoot out of it when tearing it open. It was buttery and crunchy, but perhaps I was expecting magic elves to dance on my tongue.
The Cannele is a cylindrical pasty with a thick, caramelized crust enveloping a sweet custard. The pasty was thick and dense like fruit cake. It had a slight burnt sugar taste to it, almost reminiscent of crème brulee. The little dot of custard never materialized into anything more, it had sort of hardened and was not a smooth and creamy custard that I was expecting.
Sadly, I failed to see what the hype is all about at Dominique Ansel Bakery. Sure, I didn’t get to try the infamous cronut, but I don’t think a special trip for the cronut is worth it based on this visit. It seemed like the bakery was more focused on presentation rather than taste and execution.