Ever since Sushi of Gari ran out of the Lady M Green Tea Mille Feuille cake I had SO looked forward to eating, I was on a mission to try the luscious 27-layered dessert as soon as I could get my hands on it. Fortunately a trip to see the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center placed me near Todd English’s Food Hall, so I didn’t hesitate one second to splurge when I spotted the cake at the hall’s very own Lady M stand. For $8, the piece is small, but each layer of whipped cream makes every bite taste like a thousand cakes in one. The sweetness is subtle, the creaminess is undeniable, and for such a densely layered cake, it achieves the quality of lightness that most cakes do not. But despite it’s beauty and deliciousness, I can’t ignore the fact that it lacks in some diversity of flavor. Maybe I should’ve opted for the green tea, or maybe I’m just used to ingredient-packed Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, but the cake needs something to brighten its mildness.
Fast forward a few weeks and I find myself sitting in front of San Francisco’s Cafe Des Amis version, which they call the “24-layer crepe cake,” served with orange chamomile syrup. At first I was shocked at the adulteration of such a wonderful classic, but when I took a bite, I instantly knew the problem had been solved. The citrus added a necessary brightness to the otherwise dull taste of the traditional version, and I was happy as a clam.
I’m sad to admit that a somewhat random restaurant’s version of mille feuille cake beat out that of the critically acclaimed Lady M. My recommendation to Lady M, if it ever were to make a difference? Add a little lemon zest in the whipped cream to really bring out the flavors of the crepe.
Lady M Location: Multiple locations; 41 East 78th Street @ Madison
Cafe Des Amis Location: 2000 Union Street @ Buchanan