Clinton Street Baking Company was voted Best Pancakes in 2008 by New York Magazine (not to mention Best Breakfast/Brunch by Time Out in 2007) so it promised to serve some solid pancakes, especially during pancake month. I’ve heard about pancake month since I moved to NYC but haven’t managed to make it to the LES, principally since I’ve heard the line to get in is absurd.
The line is out the door on any given weekend and especially so during annual pancake month. I managed to get around this hurdle by taking a day off work today for a little me time. I did not plan my day off around pancake month, but I would be lying if I said it didn’t factor into the decision. I looked up the pancake schedule and today’s special selection looked particularly enticing so I headed downtown to try pancakes topped with crispy [tempura] bananas and cinnamon-chili-chocolate sauce.
I was surprised that the restaurant was packed at 1:30 on a random Monday especially the ambiance is nothing special. In my head I thought it would be one of those cutesy places, but in reality it looked just like any other boring diner. Thankfully, the food was anything but ordinary. Even though I knew what I was getting, I glanced at the menu for future reference and it looks like I’ll have to make a return trip. Today, however, I had to stick with the famous pancake month brunch. I managed to get a tiny spot by a window so I could read, people watch, and stuff my face with the delicious pancakes.
Since I’m more of a savory girl, I was happy the pancakes weren’t overly sweet. They weren’t covered with the cinnamon-chili-chocolate sauce (there was just enough) so I was able to get a feel for just how fluffy the pancakes were (perfect consistency – firm from the griddle on the outside, light on the inside). Nothing (including the bananas) got soggy – and I hate a soggy pancake.
I expected a little more fanfare around pancake month. It’s not like I expected to see a marching band run through the restaurant when I placed my order, but I thought there would be a little more to-do. Marching band or not, I still got to try pancake month that I’ve been hearing about for the last three years. If you’re a pancake fan, I would highly recommend Clinton Street Baking Company even if you have to take a day off work to try it.