Sugar and Plumm is the newest addition to the dining scene on the Upper West Side. Sugar and Plumm’s flagship location in Paramus, NJ expanded to this Manhattan location looking like a sophisticated, polished kind of Candyland with the general color scheme of lavender purple, cream, and touches of polished silver.
When you step foot through the door of this bakery, gelateria, and restaurant, you’re welcomed with literally eye candy. Piles of cookies, muffins, and croissants on a display case near the register, along with the ice cream and sorbets, chocolates and a rainbow of French macarons not too far from it. Also, there’s large crowds of teenagers and younger children from the neighborhood ogling, swarming and munching on the sweets their parents bought for them, as I visited there a very recent late afternoon.
This visit was originally intended to be eating sweets but my dining companions persuaded me to try the savory dishes. The menu is mainly American comfort food created by Executive Chef Steven Ferdinand. Even though the food reads familiar and simple, Chef Ferdinand elevates them by injecting them with lots of flavor and making most of their products in house like the Angus Footlong hot dog. I realized when our food arrived, all of these dishes are generally meant to be shared.
The Angus Footlong hot dog is literally a foot-long hot dog that is made in-house with pure Angus beef topped with relish, onions, and housemade mustard. It’s delicious and juicy with a good snap when bitten into it. But the hot dog bun could be better and there’s a bit too much mustard then I prefer. Do be warned that this is meant to be shared, unless you have a stomach of a hot dog competitive eater.
In the savory waffles realm, we had the pulled pork waffles and chicken and waffles. Both waffle dishes were tasty and on the sweeter side of savory. The chicken and waffles should have both sauces (maple syrup and hot sauce) poured/dipped for every bite to get the full impact of flavor. I really liked the fact the chef used dark meat chicken. The pulled pork waffles were insane. Sweet, slightly crisp waffles topped with 72-hour chipotle marinated pulled pork and slaw. I wouldn’t have mind eating this every other morning – but my trainer would kick my butt.
As for my beverage, pastry wizard Pichet Ong was in the restaurant that afternoon and whipped up an off-the-menu float à la minute and called it passion fruit. It’s made of passion fruit granite, vanilla ice cream, and orange club soda. I really enjoyed that it’s not sweet, bubbly, and fruity from the pairing of passion fruit and orange. Pichet, if you’re reading this, please add this float on the menu for the grown up kids!
Taking a stroll to their pastry case found on the opposite end of the space (where there are bins of candy by the pound), everything looked delectable. We ended up getting slices of Heaven and Hell and Chocolate Caramel cakes, Key Lime Pie in a Can, pumpkin muffin, and a gianduja bar. The cake slices were overall rich and decadent, especially Heaven and Hell. It’s composed of moist, dense Devil’s food cake (Hell), layered with angel food cake (Heaven) and sweet peanut butter frosting in between then glazed with rich chocolate ganache.
I was swooning (and still am) over their newest cake flavor on the rotation, chocolate caramel. Layers of moist chocolate cake with a deep, rich flavored caramel frosting in between and over the cake with a side coating of moist chocolate cake crumbs and topped with crushed nuts. Even though I was full, I couldn’t stop picking up my fork and keep taking bites of it.
Key Lime Pie in a Can is a very adorably plated dessert and the one that packed the most flavor. The intensely bright, tart key lime filling was creamy and juxtaposed perfectly with the crunchy chocolate cookie crust and sweet berries.
The pumpkin muffin was moist and had a lot of spices, a welcoming bite to autumn. The gianduja bar was arguably the most sophisticated dessert of the group. A wispy, crispy, buttery feuilletine crust layered with a ethereal yet creamy gianduja mousse.
Since desserts and sweets are almost never enough in my book, I’ve taken some home. Their Rocky Road Cookie is pretty ingenious to take that traditional ice cream flavor and put it in cookie form without nuts. It’s a brownie-like cookie with large soft pools of melted marshmallows. It’s rich and dense but interestingly not sweet since the cookie had a lot of dark unsweetened chocolate (a very good thing). The chocolate chunk cookie is a buttery, chewy, soft cookie that’s packed with lots of chocolate in every bite. The chocolates used were Valrhona milk chocolate and Cacao Barry bittersweet chocolate to have complexity beyond the traditional chocolate chip.
The slice of lemon-raspberry cake was moist, dense and the flavors were wonderful. It made me think of a final kiss goodbye to summer fruits. The small box of chocolates (that are made daily at their New Jersey facility) were delicious and I eat through it in one sitting.
If I’m in the neighborhood for some delicious comfort food and my sweet tooth is having one serious craving, I highly recommend eating at Sugar and Plumm. The prices are reasonable (the waffles were $12 each) and you’d certainly get your cravings satisfied. Just be aware that you’d be surrounded with stroller moms, kids, and teenagers if you’re there during the day.
To view more of my photos of this event, please scroll through the slideshow below (or click through my Flickr set):
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Upper West Side
377 Amsterdam Avenue
New York, New York 10024
Telephone: (212) 787-8778