In Tokyo this morning, pastry wizard Dominique Ansel threw open the doors to his very first international bakery location. There were break dancers. There were selfies galore. And, this being Ansel, there were Cronut pastries and seemingly endless lines — the first two people entered the bakery line at 9:25 p.m. the night before opening, and to accommodate the crowds, the Ansel team rented out a neighboring parking lot to contain spillover. Congratulations, Tokyo, you now have your very own Cronut Line™.
Just as the renderings promised, the bakery is sleek and modern, with design elements that borrow from Ansel's native France, his adopted home of NYC, and his latest stomping ground Tokyo. The light and bright first floor retail is light and bright, and has design references to both the New York City and Paris subway systems. The second floor cafe features table service and a glassed in kitchen where guests can watch the chefs at work. The third floor is dedicated kitchen space.
Helping Ansel get this Tokyo bakery/spaceship in orbit is chef de cuisine Laurie Jon Moran. The recent Tokyo transplant has a serious pastry pedigree, having been the executive pastry chef at Le Bernardin in New York and at Quince in San Francisco. He was also Ansel's sous chef back at Daniel, where Ansel and Moran helped the restaurant earn three Michelin stars. The Tokyo menu spans familiar New York pastry favorites, like Cronuts and the DKA, and also features Japan-specific treats: a puff pastry maneki neko (good luck cat) filled with yuzu cream, a chestnut wagashi filled with vanilla cream, orange marmalade, and meringue. The bakery also features an extensive all-day savory menu.
Eater sent photographer Luuvu Hoang to the opening bright and early this morning to capture the scene. Here's what he saw, beginning around 7a.m.