Thursday evening, November 18, was the gala grand opening of La Boîte, a combination shop, bakery, teaching kitchen and art gallery. It’s difficult to give an “elevator pitch” about the concept because I don’t believe it’s been done before. This intriguing pastiche is the vision of proprietor and “master spice blender” Lior Lev Sercarz.
The evening also celebrated the opening of “Domestic Fables,” the Fall 2010/Winter 2011 collaboration between Columbian artist Marcela Cardenas. Lior teams up with an artist to create a collector’s item: a decorative metallic box – hence, La Boîte — which is etched with the artist’s design; dans la boîte, a limited edition print of the artist’s work is nestled with a selection of seasonal specialty biscuits — petite cookies inspired by the artist’s imagery.
There were a half dozen samples of these biscuits to savor at the soiree, each with a whimsical name that corresponded with the “Domestic Fables” theme. The walls were graced by Cardenas’s lithographs, paintings and limited edition prints. The convivial crowd went through cases of Cava, a perfect companion to les biscuits. My favorites were the “Parable” (honey, ginger and clove) and the delicate “Oracle” (coffee, white chocolate and dulce de leche). Even those words conjure up overly precious Oreo hybrids and these biscuits are anything but. I’m not one to engage in hyperbole, but they are truly not like any cookie I’ve ever tasted before!
Born in Israel, Sercarz has also lived in Italy and France, making him as interesting a mélange as his establishment. He has created kitchen magic in France and for Manhattan’s Daniel, but after cooking his way around the world, studying spices and their origins, he began creating his own blends, providing just the right balance of flavors for Zak Pelaccio, Paul Liebrandt and Daniel Boulud.
Lior has been baking his art-inspired biscuits since 2006 and has paired his creations with work by fine art photographer Ghary Bowlin, illustrator and collagist Carolina Bernal and multimedia artist Mónica Vélez, among others.
Initially, La Boîte will be open by appointment only, but should soon be available for special events, cooking classes and, ideally, for you to purchase Lior’s delicious spices and his curated collections of cookies!
724 11th Avenue at 51st St.