175 Water Street, New York, NY 10038-4918
Flavors Café is a deli in lower Manhattan. Like most Manhattan delis it has “a little of everything”: soups, salads, sandwiches, hot food, and even desserts. As “delis” go, this one qualifies as one of the larger and seemingly cleaner of the kind. (Though different opinions to mine concerning this issue exist on yelp.com) It has a wide variety of hot foods and pre-made sandwiches with aspirations to gourmet cuisine, and gourmet prices to match.
This review, however, is not about them (although I could and probably should write such a review).
There is a large in-house dining area with nice looking wooden chairs and tables which actually has an ambiance better than most establishments of this kind. And yes, space and ambiance are expensive luxuries in Manhattan, even near the tip of the Island.
In this restaurant, “desserts” includes a selection of tempting-looking outsized cupcakes (about the same size as those “gourmet muffins”, with the larger-than-average size perhaps used to justify the $3.75/per pricing?) up front in the glass display case near the door.
A word of warning, though. The cupcakes look much better than they taste. I bought a few in order to try them. Here’s my opinion on several of the different varieties of cupcake that this dining establishment offers.
The only pistachios involved in the Pistachio cupcake were the crushed nuts adorning the top. The cupcake itself was ordinary white cake, though the frosting was a nice shade of pale green, but not particularly pistachio-flavored. White sprinkles forming a ring around the cupcake top were a nice touch, but added only to the aesthetics, rather than to the flavor or quality.
The “Hostess Cupcake”, in a shade of pale orange, had nondescript frosting on top covered with crumbs of the nondescript yellow cake from the bottom. It in no way duplicates the assertively orange flavored two-to-a package Hostess cupcakes of today, or the more subtly lemon-flavored Hostess cupcakes I remember from the 1970s. There is a hole bored in the top of the cupcake for filling, which contains more of the nondescript frosting on the top.
The “Twinkie Cupcake” (perhaps the employees mixed up the sign for this one with the cupcake described above) is a surprisingly faithful homage to the chocolate Hostess cupcake. The frosting on top is not the whipped and oily confection adorning the preceding two varieties, but a flat and flavorful chocolate adorned with a line of white looping icing. Plain white “crème” was the filling within a decent if somewhat ordinary chocolate cupcake.
I skipped the Red Velvet and the Blackout Chocolate Cupcakes from this shop.
Blackout Chocolate is hard to get wrong, but if they did, I don’t think I could stand it.
I did not buy the Red Velvet cupcake because I hate Red Velvet Cake, strictly on general principles.
The entire bottle of red food coloring emptied into it does absolutely nothing for the flavor or texture, and having grown up during the Red No. 2 cancer scare, I am suspicious of ingesting _anything_ that I know has large amounts of red dye of any kind in it.
That said, Red Velvet Cake is a “Southern” food, and I believe it has no business being north of the Mason-Dixon line.
This deli has a menu that allows for ordering online. You can also have an office or a special event catered by this restaurant. Many of the things available in the shop are available from the online menu. Except for the cupcakes mentioned above. Could they be ashamed of them?