18 E 41st St.
New York, NY 10017
You see more and more hybrid food shops in New York City where there are unusual matchups of food. Not a gastropub in the real sense of the term, but more so a place where different kinds of food you might not expect can be found. And so, this Asian-themed bakery serves pastries, ice cream, sushi, sandwiches and other things all under one roof. So which thing really is the best reason to stop in to this low-key storefront near the Midtown area? Well that would be the baked goods, definitely hearkening to flavors and tastes in Asia. This is the place to go for something sweet if you don’t like things that are sweet.
The menu is full of surprises. Some of the things I liked:
- Soft serve: Zaiya serves soft serve in two very atypical flavors. One, black sesame, is a profile that is a bit muted but still a bit of a seed flavor. The other, green tea, is a more common flavor in Asian bakeries and a bit sweeter. But not too much! All told, a really nice and cold dessert.
- Cheese dome: A special kind of baked good, the cheese dome has a light and fluffy dough and in the middle a little bit of similarly light cheese custard. This roll isn’t sugary in the real sense of the word. But an experience to have nonetheless.
- Cheesecake: Again, this is an Asian bakery and the cheesecake is built to a different standard. This isn’t New York cheesecake; it’s lighter and airy. The bottom layer is a bit thicker but altogether the cheesecake is less sweet and slightly less firm. But still good if you want a departure from the typical all-to-sugary experience that leaves you sluggish.
The bakery is made to sit in and enjoy your treat. Definitely best for couples and smaller groups. Around lunch it does fill up as people grab sushi, noodles and other heavier dishes. But the rest of the day, it is a comparative island of calm in a city that can feel so full of chaos.
The bakery has a few locations around town and there’s good reason people seem to like the place; it’s got plenty of items to try that you just can’t find in a lot of places around the U.S. and so the new takes on classics is refreshing. This spot is worth a try.
- The baked goods are the thing that bring people to the place and stick around.
- There is also a bunch of options for things to try if you want heavier food, sushi and noodles are on the menu as are sandwiches. Worth a try.
- Many of the items at this bakery are common in New York. Soft serve, cheesecake, and other things like that. But this spot offers a different recipe in them. Make sure you know that!