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Patisserie Claude

j
Jennifer Stott Apr 27, 1999 10:33 AM

For some time I have contemplated posting Claude's croissants on "The Best" message board, but have refrained because his patisserie is written about so widely in other places. However, the New York Magazine/Best of New York issue has prompted me to post. Patisserie Claude is once again applauded as a French bakery - but his rudeness is noted, something mentioned in nearly everything I read about the store. I have been going to Claude's several times a week for many years and he has only ever been very courteous, even friendly. His English is not great, but that isn't rudeness. And his croissants are magnificent with a crispy, buttery crust covering a light, doughy center. So I must leap to Claude's defense. How do these nasty myths take hold? Have other chowhounds had good or bad experiences at Claude's? For me, if you want to talk about rudeness, try the Melampo man. His sandwiches are delicious, but his surly attitude means I can no longer patronize his store.

Perhaps this should be on the "Not About Food" board?

  1. d
    Dave Feldman Apr 27, 1999 04:41 PM

    Jennifer,
    Re: Claude

    I feel the same way about Al Yeganeh (the Soup Guy),
    whose focus on providing the best product and fastest
    service possible is misinterpreted as rudeness. Al is
    a different guy after rush hour, because he is worried
    about the length of the line and the turnover of the
    soup.

    I've seen Al commit many acts of kindnesses (not the
    least of which is providing free soup for anyone who
    asks). The only time I've seen him act in a mean
    fashion (as opposed to a curt fashion) is when a woman
    asked him if that was "real seafood" in the seafood
    bisque.

    "No," he replied, without losing his temper or
    composure. "It's fake seafood." He watched with
    bemusement after the woman left the line soupless,
    after waiting in line for 15 minutes or so.

    I have to admit that I've always enjoyed the kind of
    gruff/surly/sarcastic service provided by the pros at
    Jewish delis and pubs, at least when it is accompanied
    by expert service. I can understand why someone
    wouldn't want a jibe with their $12 sandwich at Barney
    Greengrass, but I have to admit that I enjoy it.

    1. g
      glenn Apr 28, 1999 10:20 AM

      You're right about that Melampo guy. I stopped going
      years ago, tiring of trying to communicate with that
      artiste.

      1 Reply
      1. re: glenn
        j
        Jeremy Apr 28, 1999 03:57 PM

        I haven't been to Melampo in about a year but I'm
        certainly not above going back -- I think his
        sandwiches are some of the best I've ever had. His
        gruffness does not even enter into my thinking about
        whether or not to buy his sandwiches.

      2. j
        Jeremy Apr 28, 1999 05:17 PM

        Where is Patisserie Claude?

        4 Replies
        1. re: Jeremy
          j
          Jennifer Stott Apr 28, 1999 05:28 PM

          Patisserie Claude is in the West Village, on West 4th Street between Barrow and Great Jones.

          1. re: Jennifer Stott
            j
            Jennifer Stott Apr 28, 1999 05:49 PM

            Sorry, I mean W4 between Barrow and Jones, not Great Jones..

            1. re: Jennifer Stott
              j
              JMinNYC Apr 29, 1999 05:23 PM

              I have long been a customer of Claude's and while I
              don't agree about his croissants, I do agree about his
              rudeness.

              I have experienced this first hand MANY times. Claude
              tends to be impatient and he tends to misunderstand
              remarks that his customers make in an offhanded manner.
              Not only has he treated me hatefully, but I've seen
              customers leave the store followed by some sort of evil
              diatribe on Claude's part.

              It's all true. He's quite hateful. But he makes the
              best damn brioche in NYC. He also makes an
              extraordinary pastry of pate fuellantine filled with
              almond paste and an apricot. It's simple perfection.
              If only Claude were sweeter and less flakey.

              1. re: JMinNYC
                a
                Aleece May 28, 1999 03:51 PM

                I know I'm late to this thread, but I was a frequent &
                longtime customer of Claude's (sadly, I no longer live
                in NY) and have never encountered rudeness directed to
                me or others. I had no idea that he had such a
                reputation.

        2. b
          Barbara S Apr 28, 1999 05:26 PM

          I'm a new customer of Claude's - a French client of my
          husband's gave him the name, recommending it as the
          best to be found in Manhattan. We have to agree, and
          found Claude courteous and professional. Go! the
          croissants are to die for.

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