Few things are more delicious than a warm, freshly baked chocolate chip cookie. Especially one that is gooey in the middle but firm on the outside. I thought I had tried (and even baked) some outstanding chocolate chip cookies in my life, but all that went out the window when I took my first bite of Levain Bakery’s chocolate chip cookie.
The moment I bit into the doughy center, I knew I had found the cookie I had been searching my entire life for. But in all seriousness, Levain Bakery knows how to make a truly fantastic cookie. Sure, the lines are long and filled with tourists, but it is worth it.
Levain Bakery has branched out to include a location in Harlem, Wainscott, and soon Amsterdam Ave, but you must go to the original Upper West Side location to get the full experience. Located on the north side of W 74th, almost at Amsterdam Ave, sits the quaint and somewhat picturesque shop.
The trim of the building is painted a terrific shade of blue, making it so it can not be missed on a rather neutral colored street. The huge window and bench make the storefront look like something out of a movie. The entrance sits at street level, with a steep set of stairs dropping from the doorway into the cozy store. Be careful on the steps, I have had a mishap or two since they barely fit the traffic headed down, let alone the traffic heading back out.
I have gone to this store in the dead of winter at 4:00 on a Sunday afternoon and I have gone on a warm Tuesday at 2:00, and I have always encountered a line. Expect a line when you go, you will wait whether it is 5 minutes or 50. The employees get the orders out pretty quickly so even if the line may look long, chances are it will go by quicker than you expected.
Once you make it into the store, do your best to know what you want to order. They offer a wide variety of breads and pastries, but the main focus: cookies. The cookies come in four distinct flavors, chocolate chip walnut, dark chocolate chocolate chip, oatmeal raisin, and dark chocolate peanut butter chip. The flavor you have most definitely on a food instagram account is the chocolate chip walnut cookie, which is to die for. It is the perfect cookie with crunch from the walnut, a soft gooey melted chocolate center, and a firm but not tough exterior. It is beyond worth the $4.00 price tag and wait, no matter how long it was.
The other flavor I have been lucky enough to try is dark chocolate chocolate chip, and dear lord, it is a chocolate explosion! This cookie is so rich that I highly recommend you split it with a friend. And definitely have a bottle of water on hand. The chocolate cookie is already so dense and flavorful. You can really taste the cocoa because it is not over-the-top sweet. But the chocolate chips, in all their melty glory, make this cookie truly amazing.
If it is your first time visiting, I recommend getting the chocolate chip walnut. It is a wonderful cookie and worth the high praise it receives. If you have gone a few times and want to try a new flavor, definitely go for the dark chocolate chocolate chip. All cookies are $4.00 and well worth it. But if you are not in NYC and want to give these cookies a try, you can order them from the Levain Bakery website and have them delivered to your door. Either way, enjoy one of the world’s most delicious chocolate chip cookies!