Clinton Street Baking Company is marking February with a celebration of “pancake month.” Rachel Wharton of Edible Manhattan magazine filed the following report.
For the fourth year in a row, diners are lining up in the cold outside of Clinton Street Baking Company for three perfect pancakes served with a side of maple butter and a series of special toppings from pumpkin seed streusel to raspberry salted caramel sauce. But it's the pancakes themselves that are really special. Chef and co-owner Neil Kleinberg has been perfecting his recipe for decades.
“It was a French technique that was taught to me by my mentor Chef Guy Peuch 25 years ago, and we would do soufflés in the restaurant, and I was the sous chef in this place, and I worked on the line, and my job was to do the soufflés. And we had a base, a flavoring, and then the egg whites. So while service was going on, I was always making soufflés; that was my job. Then we had a brunch one day and he said to me, ‘you know, we have to do an American pancake,’ or something like that, so I was like, ‘why don't we come up with a recipe that incorporates your technique of the soufflés with my American pancake recipe?" says Kleinberg.
Just like a soufflé, Kleinberg's pancakes are now made with whipped egg whites. The extra light and fluffy batter only lasts a few hours, so they make several five-gallon tubs of it a day.
But Kleinberg's wife and co-owner, DeDe Lahman, says there's another trick to their deliciousness.
“Neil likes to say that his secret ingredient is love, which I love to roll my eyes at, but it's true, he really loves what he does and he loves cooking. And it makes a difference. He's not just any other line cook slinging pancakes,” says Lahman.
To get a taste of Edible-approved restaurants like Clinton Street Baking Company, check out our Good Spirits tasting event on February 28.
Published every other month, Edible Manhattan magazine celebrates Gotham's food culture season by season. To learn more, go to ediblemanhattan.com, follow us on Facebook or on Twitter.