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Beard Papa Sweets Cafe
Doughnuts have had their day in New York. The 21st century sweet treat is a fresh-filled creampuff. This expanding Japanese chain imports the winning recipe: light, not-too-sweet pastry shells baked every half hour, filled on the spot with whipped, cool custard and dusted with powdered sugar. Vanilla is the single perennial filling, but a lush green tea and sophisticated royal milk tea are among the more interesting rotating flavors, along with chocolate, strawberry and coffee. Less inspired, but still pleasant as a mini dessert, is the molten cake-like chocolat fondant. Beard Papa's downtown location, brightly decorated with orange accents and magnified flower photos, is devoted to sweets and coffee drinks, while the busy midtown spot shares space with Cafe Zaiya, which sells bento boxes and other savories, like crisp vegetable croquettes and tuna-corn pastries.