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Aug 30, 2000 07:09 AM

french bakeries in east village

  • j

FYI -Two really good pastry shops have opened in the last few months in the East Village. Alcazar, on the corner of 1st ave. and 10th st., and Goupil and DeCarlo, on 13th st., just west of 2nd ave. Very authentic, nothing like Veneiro's(sp?).

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  1. Are both Italian, Julie? Any particular specialties to look for? You've whetted my interest with your dismissal of Veniero's, which I pretty much loathe.

    Also, we KNEW you weren't related to Dave. Nobody related to Dave Feldman would ever post at 7 a.m.!


    19 Replies
    1. re: Jim Leff

      Alcazar is French. I think the guy came from Marseilles. Have not been to the other one. Veneiro's is pretty much awful (thanks Julie, besides Jim and I, I don't recall anyone else not liking Veneiro's).

      1. re: Gary Cheong
        irene stevens

        Alcazar was opened last winter by a pastry chef and his wife from Marseille...believe it or not, his name is chef Gatto...
        i go there regularly...not only are his brioche and croissants wonderful, all his tortes are special - complex and delicious (i have had several made to order for parties)...
        also, unexpectedly, his baguettes are exactly the right texture - better, if possible than Sullivan St and other "famous" ones....
        he is extremely talented and likes feedback...
        don't miss it.

        1. re: Gary Cheong

          Let me add another voice to the chorus: I can't see what the big deal is with Venierio's. Went there because of the raves but found it all pretty ho-hum, lousy coffee to boot.

          Joe Moryl

          1. re: Joe Moryl

            Ok; this is a little off the thread, but what the heck. We had our wedding cake done there and it was outstanding, especially considering the insane $6 a slice quotes I got elsewhere.

            For like $300 we got a MAMMOTH cake and they even let me fiddle with the frosting design. I think their delivery fee was $5. Chocolate cake with a bavarian creme filling with fresh strawberries. Very light and moist. Considering wedding cake can be dry and unmemorable, I was really impressed.

            1. re: Jen

              Friends of mine got my birthday cake there. Deeply chocolatey cake, frosting that seemed more like it was actual high-grade chocolate melted and poured over the top (as opposed to the thick, too-sweet kind of tasteless frosting on most cakes), and a chocolate ganache filling. It was almost like a torte, since it had three layers of ganache and four layers of cake. It was very moist, with a definite chocolate taste. Pretty to look at, too. Everyone who ate it raved about it and wanted to know where it had come from.

              It's the only thing I've ever had from there, but I enjoyed it, even if it's not the best cake I ever had or anything.

              1. re: Jen

                This too is where my wife and I got our wedding cake--14 years ago. And it was the best wedding cake I ever had--save the one my mother made my grandparents for their 50th wedding anniversary in 1963. There are better Italian pastry shops, but I always take my out of town guests here...and they've been quite satisfied.


                1. re: Pete Feliz

                  Well, I guess (given this flurry of messages) all we have to do is go in and ask for slices of wedding cake!

                  I sure don't like anything else. Hate to be so dour and negative...lord knows I've tried to like it (it's one of the best Date Places in town, I love the ambiance), but I've always come away non-whelmed


                  1. re: Jim Leff

                    I worked at Venieros in the mid 80's when I was a poor student living on that block. I must say, Frank Veniero is one of the nastiest, sleaziest men I've ever encountered. He never bothered to learn any of the help's names, and instead called us all "girlie". I think their pastry is vastly overrated, AND, they pay less than minimum wage. Needless to say, I only worked there for 2 weeks.

                    1. re: erica w

                      I agree that most of the pastries are very pedestrian at best. But those quarsemali cookies (made with ammonium carbonate and cinnamon oil) are seriously great with coffee or sweet wine.

                    2. re: Jim Leff

                      I live a few blocks west of Veniero's, and, while I'm not a "pastry/cookie person" (my palate runs salty to fat, not sweet to sour), the sfogliatelle at Veniero's is supreme. That's the million-ribbon crispy/soft triangular pastry with a sweet/sour farmer's cheese filling. The key is to get them fresh, which is easier if you live a few blocks away--but if you call during off-peak hours and ask nicely when the next sfogliatelle will emerge from the oven, they'll tell you, and you can plan an East Village voyage (there are a million chowhounder destinations) and arrive at Veniero's at the appointed hour. It's best to eat sfogliatelle while you walk outside--the warm shards of ribbon pastry shatter with each bite and scatter onto the sidewalk.

                      I agree with Jim, though. A lot of the rest is too sweet and, often, old. The canoli USED to be terrific; now it's merely serviceable.

                      Chow on!

                      1. re: Tom Steele

                        I also lived around the corner from Venerio's. I had the plesant aroma of cookies baking flowing through my windows. Now I live next door to the Cupcake Cafe. I may not be excited about their product, but once again the aromas are great. Especailly when they are baking apple pies.
                        Anyway... My favorite thing to get at Venerios is there fig pastry. It's seasonal but delicious! Probably now planted out on the counter as I type.
                        For Itailian pastry, not my favorite I prefer Ferrara's because it is really sweet & sugary just the way I like my cake to be.

                      2. re: Jim Leff

                        i think there was a time when Veniero's was so far ahead of the typical italian pastry shop but things have changed due to new bakeries that have opened. there was a time when i used to wait on those long holiday lines but that has past. so, if you are comparing V to shops like dirobertis, ferrara, roma, etc they are still the leader.

                  2. re: Joe Moryl

                    OK, I guess I should weigh in with my opinion about these East Village places. I have never found fault with Veniero's pastries, though I can't comment about the coffee because I'm not a coffee drinker. The service at peak times is quite slow and sometimes brusque. I like a little place on the east side of Mulberry St. on the block north of Canal as much if not more, but I've seen no reason so far to curse Veniero's.

                    As for Alcazar, I got a chausson aux pommes there one cold morning (December?), hoping for something comparable to the chaussons I used to get regularly in boulangeries in Nice (and sometimes in Paris). I was disappointed. I found it too buttery, too sugary, too flaky - and altogether too heavy for an early breakfast. The chaussons aux pommes I remember from Nice had less batter and more apples, and the texture of the doughy outside was something like a good croissant, not a crumby butter cookie or something. Yes, the thing I got at Alcazar tasted good, but it wasn't what I expected.

                  3. re: Gary Cheong

                    Not exactly in the East Village, but close (east Soho) is Ceci Cela on Spring Street, just east of Lafayette on the north side. This is one of the top 3 French Bakeries in all of Manhattan in my humble opinion.

                    1. re: Pat

                      Been going to Ceci Cela for a few years. Love it.

                  4. re: Jim Leff

                    M. Alpha said:

                    "Also, we KNEW you weren't related to Dave. Nobody related to Dave Feldman would ever post at 7 a.m.!"

                    Maybe Julie posted right before going to sleep. And I'd be proud to be related to anyone posting about two new good bakeries.

                    1. re: Dave Feldman

                      "And I'd be proud to be related to anyone posting about two new good bakeries"

                      ..and ones I (at least) have never heard about, either!

                      shoot, let's get some more Feldmans in here...

                      1. re: Jim Leff

                        Alcazar Patisserie was discussed briefly here a few months ago.


                        1. re: Caitlin

                          Heh. Thanks. But how on earth did you resist the temptation to suggest I "use the search engine, read through previous discussion, and let us all know if you need further info" after that"?