- 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?
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
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
"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.
re: Jennifer Stott
I have long been a customer of Claude's and while I
don't agree about his croissants, I do agree about his
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.
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.