Lady M Cake Boutique Is An Otherworldly Food-esque Experience Unlike Any Other In New York City
The other day I paid a visit to a place I’d been meaning to hit for quite some time, the rumored Lady M Cake Boutique. What is so special about it? Quite a lot. Before we get to the food, though, let’s start with the location, decor and clientele.
Lady M Cake Boutique is located on the Upper East Side, a notoriously tony part of town, densely populated with well-heeled folks enjoying their slice of life. And occasionally their slice of cake. The folks who come in to the shop seem to be divided into two main types: doctors and so forth dripping with cash and leggy fashionistas who are indulging in their one caloric bomb a month. Many of the customers were coming in to pick up cakes to go. Some of the cakes look really spectacular, including a green tea number the precise shade of moss. It looked, well, different.
The decor is severe and white. There’s marble on the floors, a few small tables lining the wall, and cakes set out like pieces of art in a gallery. There are a few tables along the wall. They charge an 18 percent gratuity for table service, which may ruffle some feathers, but I guess it helps separate the wheat from the chaff, as far as their clientele goes. French music wafts through the air. The cake counter itself is a long, narrow affair with horizontal, white planks, resting on metal legs.
Speaking of legs, I have to discuss the other thing that sets Lady M apart from other bake shops.
Most bakeries seem to cater to the vast swath of humanity. You’ll see a normal cross-section of folks. At Lady M, it’s a bit different. When the couples come in, he’s 50 and a dentist. She’s not, and is dressed to the nines.
The “Sex & The City” crowd which frequents this place is somewhat baffling because they are all such skinny bolinks. They wear designer sunglasses, sun dresses and fancy shoes. When I was there, the woman those legs belong to (a knockout), came in with a guy who was somewhat pudgy, twice her age (easy), wearing Bermuda shorts, topsiders, ill-fitting baseball cap, and polo shirt featuring chest hair poking out the neck.
What can I say? It was something to see. She was followed in by another of her ilk, and another.
But enough about all that: how’s the food? Above, allow me to introduce you to the sublime specialty of the house, the milles crepes. There are no fewer than 20 layers of crepe involved here, and they seem to rest on layers of cream. As you can see, the top is a creme brulee.
I’m not going to kid you: it is amazing. Incredible. Delicious. There is an unusual combination of characteristics that makes it so special. Each layer of crepe is the width of a sheet of paper. They float on the cream. There’s a tension when attempting to cut through them, enough so that I had to attack with the prongs of the fork as opposed to the side at certain points.
The cream is quite cool on the tongue. It is has a rich, full flavor without being too heavy. In fact, the whole thing is lighter than you’d think. It is essentially liquid shlag held together and it is sensational. Easily one of the better desserts I’ve ever had.
The iced cafe was delicious, made particularly special by the small pitcher of simple syrup served to sweeten it.
For about $16, it was well worth it. Granted, that’s not cheap for a slice of cake and a cup of iced coffee. But I think at Lady M you’re paying for more than just the food. You’re paying for the privilege of sitting there – at least that’s how it feels. I count myself lucky for having gotten a table – I understand they get incredibly busy… .
It’s a great place for high-flying baked goods, and watching the high-fliers that eat it.