Tuesday, January 24, 2012

New in New York: In its Grand Openin', Puddin' Takes a Lickin'

The new in New York Puddin' makes the traditional dessert elegant
By Mitch Broder

Puddin’ by Clio opened its doors on January 6, 2012.

It closed its doors on January 11, 2012.

New in New York, an establishment that ran out of Puddin' instead of running out of customers
This could be a record in New York City. But if it is, it’s a good one. Puddin’ didn’t run out of customers. Puddin’ ran out of puddin’.

It ran out of the fifty-six pounds of puddin’ that were supposed to last that whole first day but were instead sucked out of the place in an hour and a half. It kept running out for the next four days and then it finally shut down for two, both of which Clio spent in the Puddin’ kitchen doin’ nothin’ but cookin’ puddin’.

Since then the store’s been releasing pudding starting at 4 p.m. (though it opens at 9 a.m. for coffee), while remodeling a kitchen that had just been modeled. Clio’s had orders for pudding in England and offers to franchise in Hong Kong. Not to mention a parade of petulant pudding-eaters passing by on St. Mark’s Place.

Workers at Puddin' get ready to serve this treat that is new in New York
Clio, crumbling banana cake.
“We expected a nice, slow, steady pace,” she told me when I visited on the 11th — “a quiet soft opening that never happened. … On Sunday we opened at four o’clock and sold out by 4:40. I started taking reservations for pudding cups.” She somehow looked like an overworked pudding chef.

Things were different when I went back last week. They’d just installed the blast freezer, which cuts the production time of a pudding from three hours to one. “The blast freezer works!” Clio yelped when she determined that it did, and she suitably jumped up and down. She thinks she can keep the place open now. Still, don’t count on your flavor.

On the other hand, there’s no bad flavor, which is why they keep running out. Puddin’ could conceivably be the best pudding ever made. Clio, after all, has worked for Daniel Boulud and Danny Meyer, who are two giant food stars, though I’m not sure either has ever had to close a joint for two days.

Clio is Clio Goodman, who after working at several restaurants became a personal chef with a vision for a dessert that diners give away. A client passed her puddings around, and everyone knew the world was waiting. Puddin’ opened next door to Jane’s Sweet Buns, so the owners could borrow each other’s sugar.

Tim Zydek is a sous-chef at Puddin' a new in New York establishment
Tim Zydek, the sous-chef, smiling.
I tried the chocolate. It was such a deep and dusky chocolate that it made the chocolate pudding that I had previously thought of as the best seem like vanilla. Clio called it “smoky” and “earthy” and talked about its tannins. When customers tell her how much they like her pudding she likes to explain to them why they like it.

She also has vanilla, banana, butterscotch, coffee, lemon, and rice, the latter perhaps for those still tempted to go to that rice-pudding place in Nolita. She has toppings of sauces, creams, fruits, nuts, candies, cookies, brownies, and cakes, and parfaits with preset toppings so you don’t leave with a headache.

Clio’s been getting more offers, but she said she couldn’t tell me about them, which was OK, since she did tell me that she names her kitchen appliances. But at 23, she’s also getting a crash course in the less-sweet side of success.

“They all want a piece of the pie,” she said wisely. “They all want a spoon of the pudding.”

Puddin' sparkles at night from outside

Get your share at Puddin’ by Clio, 102 St. Mark’s Place, between First Avenue and Avenue A, New York City.


  1. This blog is bad for my waistline...but I don't care! Thanks for serving up another delicious post!

  2. Can we combine a stop here with a trip to the vintage cookbook store? Thanks Mitch!

  3. Ha! I am familiar with the Blast Freezer. It is used on "Chopped." I like Clio's window treatment. Classy, yet looks warm, cozy and invitin' inside. Could be the shots. Especially the last one. Early morning or early evening? Kudos to the photographer. :)

  4. Jen...early evening...that's when the pudding's served!!

  5. Puddin' NYC is definitely one of my new favorite spots in the East Village. I had not heard about their opening and running out of pudding. I certainly am glad that I was not there on one of those nights. Luckily I'd just come from JoeDough (also in the East Village) so I was plenty full. But there's always room for dessert!