February 23, 2004 | Ask Gael
Doesn’t Washington’s birthday mean cherry pie?
The hefty chunk of oversugared and proudly primitive cherry pie I devoured on a desperate winter night at Bubby’s recently reminded me how I crave the trashy confections of my Michigan childhood. But our town’s purist pastry stars don’t play with cherries out of season, not even to honor George. And the best sour cherry, the red Montmorency, has only a cruelly brief moment in May. Never mind. Canned cherries make sublime pie year-round, and they’re piled high in Little Pie Company’s smartly tart and homey classic. Kitchenette’s standard is pleasingly acerbic, too, and the crust is a tad flakier. Sarabeth’s small cherry crumb pie is stylish in a kind of shabby-chic way, with a lush cache of not-too-sweet fruit enclosed in rustic pastry folds sprinkled with cinnamon-touched streusel (full-size to order). I cannot tell a lie: I wanted to spank Sarabeth when she told me bay leaf and a touch of balsamic vinegar were the subtle seasoning I couldn’t identify, but I bow to the delicious subtlety of such intrusions.
80 W. Broadway 212 267 6740
1272 Amsterdam Ave. 212 531 7600
Little Pie Company
407 West 14th St 212 414 2324
424 West 43rd St 212 736 4780
Grand Central Terminal, Lower Dining Concourse 212 983 3538
1295 Madison Ave. Hotel Wales
423 Amsterdam Ave. 212 496 6280