While Dominique Ansel has trademarked the Cronut™, he cannot stop people from making their own cronut-like pastries, slapping a $5 pricetag on them, and calling them something else. Mille-Feuille Bakery (located near Washington Square Park just blocks from Ansel himself) isn't the first, and they're certainly not the last to do this... but they are and always will be the first place the Gothamist staff ever tasted a cronut-esque thing. We tried their Vanilla Bean and Raspberry "french donuts" this afternoon—unsurprisingly, they were really quite good. Here are some staff reactions on the French Donut, and veering off topic, the Cronut Craze in general:
- "It tasted like the overwrought decadence of a dying materialist culture—I think this is the taste Gatsby had in his mouth in the pool. Also very greasy." — Jake Dobkin
- "To people who haven't eaten a Cronut™ yet (and I'm guessing that's most of this place's market) this fauxnut is like the Shrödinger's Cat of pastries. You don't know if it's nothing like a cronut, or an exact replica. Only until you open the box (wait in line for 15 hours) will you know for sure. It's essentially a tasty jelly donut and I appreciate the flakiness of the pastry, but I also think $5 is a cruel price to pay for an imitation." — Chris Robbins
- "Tastes like a jelly donut. Totally unsure what the fuss is all about." — Josh Steele
- "Like the best funnel cake at the county fair and a jelly donut had a baby in my mouth." — Allison Davis
We tracked down two dedicated pastry connoisseurs who have managed to try BOTH the Cronut™ and this fauxnut, and we were told that the main thing that sets the two apart is that the original Cronut™ is flakier and crispier, whereas the fauxnut is greasier and chewier. And both are delicious, in the way that both croissants and doughnuts are enjoyable things to eat sometimes. But note: Neither are worth pressing your bare skin to the dirty New York City sidewalk for.
UPDATE: Olivier at Mille-Feuille would like to point out that French Donuts (and Cronuts, too) have a shelf life, and should be eaten right away. We waited a few hours before eating ours—but we devoured them none-the-less.