Saturday, April 11, 2015

Harbs - A Slice of Heaven in NY by way of Japan

Last week, I had myself some fun hanging out in NY with my friends and family while also trying to fit in some delicious culinary treats.  My friend Angela always proves to be a fabulous partner in crime in this capacity, as she's always up for a fun foodie adventure.  Last week's delicious escapade took us to an elegant Japanese bakery called Harbs, located in the heart of Chelsea.

If you judge a book by its cover, you'd never know that Harbs is a haven for exquisitely made layer cakes, just by looking at its storefront.  But if you get beyond its simple exterior, I promise its worth your while and your money.  

The storefront is actually quite large and extends all the way to the back, exposing a large seating area where patrons gather and enjoy their sweets.  If you're in the mood to just grab and go, deciding to devour your dessert in the comfort of your home, you can always order up front and be on your way.  Angela and I chose to dine in so we can soak in the true experience of this sweet shop and its carefully meticulous service, reminding me very much of the detail oriented culture in Japan.

You have about over a dozen cakes to choose from, which proves more than enough and a good reason to come back. Each slice is quite generous, so I'd recommend sharing one with a friend or if you're really in the mood to go all out, you can get two slices like we did.

Mille Crepes Cake - Made up of delicate layers of thin crepes, not unlike a Lady M cake, they're layered with various types of fruit such as fresh strawberries, bananas and kiwi.  Each layer also gets a cushion of decadent pastry cream, making each bite extra creamy and luxurious.  Since the crepes are super thin, the cake is easy to break apart with your fork and overall makes something that looks ultra rich feel a bit lighter in your tummy.

Banana Cream Pie - Unlike the Mille Crepes cake, the Banana Cream pie is anything but light.  Topped with a generous dose of chestnut, chocolate cream and then composed of additional cream filling and chunky pieces of bananas, you gotta be in the mood to really indulge.  One of my favorite aspects of this dessert is the crunchy buttery pie crust that serves as its base.  Sure it's a little hard to pierce but once you get through, it's like a heavenly piece of shortbread.

Service and Cost:
Just like the presentation of their cakes, the service at Harbs is also elegant and stellar.  Water appears in pristine cups that are presented on nice trays while the servers have a poised appearance and a somewhat demurely polite manner about them - not unlike in Japan.  You can't help but feel that the customer is respected, which certainly helps you get over the crazy sticker shock of the prices.

So yeah about the prices...they are pretty steep at $10 per slice or $7 for the banana cream pie for example.  Although this is no doubt a big time splurge, if you do it once in a blue moon it's worth it and feels really special.  Hope you stop in and enjoy their decadent delights.

3 Mmmms

Harbs Coffee and Cake - 189 9th Avenue, New York NY 10011
E/C Train to 23rd Street

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