Oh, crème brûlée. You're about as relevant as the molten chocolate cake: a dessert fad (gaining serious popularity thanks to restaurants in NYC) symbolizing wealth, extravagance, and decadence from the late 20th century that is so overdone, lower-tier restaurant chains have you on their dessert menus for less than $7. In case you've been living under a rock since the 1980's, a crème brûlée is a French dessert consisting of sweet custard and topped with crisp caramel, made by taking a kitchen torch to a layer of straight up sugar. C'est la vie.

As overdone as this dessert is, like the chocolate molten cake, it is just so damn good. But how could it not be: who doesn't like creamy custard and straight up sugar?! If you say me, get out.

In the same way that NYC brought this dessert's popularity to such a point it hit it's ultimate demise (as in, being featured on chain restaurant menus for less than $7), NYC has also re-envisioned this dessert, breathing a new fiery breath of life to the crackling sugar-coated dessert.

The crème brûlée is no longer just a crème brûlée: it now comes in a variety of forms: cupcakes, ice cream, donuts, or just in it's own, primal state, but done so much better. Below, you'll find a comprehensive list of some of the best crème brûlée's in this city, as well as some intensely sweet desserts it so righteously inspired. La vie est belle!

Le Cirque

How could Le Cirque not be first on this list? I think if it wasn't I would probably be sued by Le Cirque's restauranteur Sirio Maccioni, who singlehandedly takes credit for making the crème brûlée as famous as it is.


So beautiful, so simple, très chic. Boucherie's crème brûlée is all that a crème brûlée should be. Delicately caramelized on top with a light dusting of sugar and fresh berries, all served in the daintiest little ramequin. It's all that you want from a traditional French spot in the West Village.

Little Tong

Little Tong is revamping the crème brûlée in the most intense way. Their milk tea crème brûlée, made with pu er tea from Yunnan, is topped with marinated peaches and basil tips. Honestly, this should be expected from NYC's newest and most innovative mixian shop – have you seen their menu? Little Tong's flavors are unique and creative, and everything is always off the charts.


SakaMai's crème brûlée is taking every popular Asian food-inspired flavor and combining it into one insane dessert. Black sesame custard is torched to perfection and then topped with a matcha almond tuile. Who knew you needed black custard in your life to match your dark-yet-sugary heart.

Cha An

Clearly, Asian restaurants know what they're doing with crème brûlée. Just like SakaMai, Cha An Tea House is crafting a black sesame crème brûlée, but they're taking it one step further, topping it with ice cream and another layer of sugar tuile.

Molly's Cupcakes

Now we're getting to the creative stuff. West Village cupcake go-to Molly's Cupcakes has their own take on the crème brûlée, and, you guessed it, it's in the form of a cupcake. A vanilla cupcake is stuffed with classic crème brûlée custard, topped with caramelized sugar and berries.

Doughnut Plant

A Doughnut Plant doughnut. Fried. Filled with thick custard. Topped with the most satisfyingly crackly sugar. Need I say more? There's only one NYC dessert that tops this crème brûlée reinvention...


Crème brûlée ice cream. That is crème brûlée ice cream with the caramelized sugar on top. Didn't think Morgenstern's could one up themselves? They just open upped one of the most popular dessert games.

Pumpkin Crème Brûlée

Feeling inspired? Want to wow your next dinner party guests? How about trying your hand at making your own crème brûlée, courtesy of Munchies?