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Patisserie Claude

guttergourmet Dec 15, 2006 10:57 AM

I had the good fortune to be near Claude's at 7am yesterday. He had just taken out two trays of plain croissants and (joy) pain au chocolats and set them on top of the counter. While I silenced my cell phone (I've been thrown out for that before)and took out my money patiently waiting my turn and trying not to drool, the guy in front of me attempted to pick his own croissant off the tray. Lacking a knife with which to dismember the man, Claude slapped his hand away and gave him a croissant. As the man left, Claude was still cursing under his breath. I got my still steaming pain au chocolat, whispered merci and played pied piper to the pigeons as they happily followed my trail of buttery flakey crumbs and still liquid hot chocolate back down West 4th.

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  1. d
    Dave Feldman Dec 17, 2006 07:46 AM

    I hate morning people!

    You're the ones who steal Claude's pain au chocolat from more civilized people.

    1. t
      tsiblis Dec 17, 2006 08:24 PM

      Claude's lucky (or maybe not) that Seinfeld never depicted him.

      1. n
        nativeNYer Dec 17, 2006 09:48 PM

        I've been DYING to get down to Claude's since I first read about this guy on this board a week or two ago. As a croissant lover who went to grad school at NYU, I don't know how I missed this place. I had to go down to Park Place today from the UWS and, as the train passed W 4th, I wimpered. Why didn't I get off? B/c I had my dog with me. UGGHHH!! I gotta get down there this weekend. I could just taste them already!! Thanks all!!!!

        1. emily Dec 17, 2006 11:50 PM

          Just had a croissant for the first time a few days ago. Yum! Great flavor. Layers were a bit more substantial/thick/heavy than the good ones I've had in France, but that was fine with me.

          1. s
            saritaeatsnyc Dec 17, 2006 11:58 PM

            this place can not be talked up enough--the last time i went there was probably the first time in my life i made up an excuse to eat a croissant and a pan au chocolat in less than 5 mins. I've tried at least 5 croissants from other bakeries since then and they are all crap compared to claude. keep the claude stories coming theyre always fun to read =)

            1 Reply
            1. re: saritaeatsnyc
              n
              nativeNYer Dec 18, 2006 03:13 AM

              unless i break a leg, i will be get myself there before christmas and then i will report just how many (OF EACH!!) i ate.

            2. r
              raybird Dec 18, 2006 03:04 PM

              wow! i happened upon patisserie claude this weekend and got a pain au chocolat - whoa! it was most delicious. the chocolate was *amazing* and did remind me of the chocolate i had in paris. i loved the texture of the pain itself - denser than most croissants around. and the crunchy corners! and it was the last one of the batch so i can't even imagine what they're like when they're still warm from the oven. it was a truly heavenly experience and i will be back there soon.

              1. n
                nychowgirl Dec 18, 2006 03:17 PM

                I'm a croissant lover myself (call me a purist, but I'd take a pure beurre over a pain au chocolat any day...) I want to try Claude and think I'll have to make a special trip just to see him. Does he run out if you don't go in the am or can I make the trek from work at lunch one of these days?

                5 Replies
                1. re: nychowgirl
                  NAtiveNewYorker Dec 18, 2006 06:02 PM

                  He seems to run out of the Pain au Chocolat by the morning. But the plain croissant lasts the entire day, in my experience.

                  He's very unpleasant, though, and that detracts from the experience for me. And I find the product good, not great, though I'm in the chowhound minority there. (The chocolate in the pain au c is only a small bar that leaves a lot of the croissant uncovered. The Napoleans are served too cold, rendering the creme Anglaise tasteless. And he does not have both a croissant and a croissant au beurre, as any good Parisian patisserie would.)

                  1. re: NAtiveNewYorker
                    s
                    saritaeatsnyc Dec 18, 2006 06:10 PM

                    in my experience, the pain au chocolat is the only one ive ever had where there was chocolate in every bite. i guess it depends on the day, but all 3 times ive gone hes been very pleasant (and i almost want to go back just to see him). i took my friend who lived in paris, and she said that one reason he might be rude is if you dont say hello when you enter and goodbye when you leave (which is the parisian custom).

                    1. re: saritaeatsnyc
                      MMRuth Dec 18, 2006 06:11 PM

                      Indeed, nodding and saying "Bonjour monsieur, bonjour madame" to everyone in the place, not just the proprietor!

                    2. re: NAtiveNewYorker
                      s
                      stuartlafonda Dec 18, 2006 07:30 PM

                      I have been going to Pat. Claude for about a year now and could not disagree more with your opinion of him. I always make eye contact with him and say good morning, in english. In return he always grabs a croissant from the back, just out of the oven and never from the tray sitting out. I always say thank you and wish him a nice day. I have never seen him treat anyone in a nasty manner. Last week he saw a little boy with some scratches on his face and asked him if he had been attackeed by a tiger, he then went on to tell a story of a tiger on a leash that he used to see in the streets of Paris. He could not have been more pleasant or engaging. His pain au chocolat, warm in the morning, is unbelievably great.

                      1. re: stuartlafonda
                        r
                        RCC Dec 18, 2006 11:31 PM

                        Are you sure you were in the same store as rest of us were?

                  2. Mickey Blue Dec 18, 2006 05:48 PM

                    Wow, there've been so many posts about Claude recently that I think I'll stop by just to refresh my "culinary memory", so to speak. I haven’t been there in a few years ( being that I haven’t been in the neighborhood), but I think I'll make a special trip.

                    I remember having an amazing cream filled pastry, though I forget the name....I remember it had a liquor soaked cherry on top though :-)

                    1. g
                      gtrekker2003 Dec 18, 2006 10:23 PM

                      What's a good time to get there before the pain au chocolats run out? And any specifically good times to go for a warm croissant?

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: gtrekker2003
                        s
                        saritaeatsnyc Dec 18, 2006 10:34 PM

                        I went about 2 weeks ago and I was able to get the last pain au chocolat at 10:30 am, my roomate went just a few days ago and they were out of both pain au chocolats and croissants by 2 pm. For warm croissants I would get there around 8 when they open, and not too soon after that for pain au chocolats.

                      2. c
                        chocokitty Dec 18, 2006 11:39 PM

                        I've went to Claude's a month or so ago and I've tried both croissants of his. I find his chocolate croissant a bit too greasy even though it's truly decadent (and I'm a chocoholic). I find him somewhat of a nice old man just a little grumpy but not too bad if you do say "good morning" to him.

                        Tina
                        http://wanderingeater.blogspot.com

                        1. Nosher Dec 19, 2006 01:18 AM

                          Claude gets a bad rap. That's not to say that he's not cranky, but being polite makes a world of difference. It also helps if you don't appear to be doing it just to make a point.

                          And previous commenters are right-- you don't have to speak to him in French. I just think of him as Kenny Shopsin's long-lost Gallic sibling and work from there. Seems to be just about right.

                          Nosher

                          NYCnosh* http://nycnosh.com

                          1. r
                            raybird Jan 14, 2007 04:57 PM

                            i stopped by with a few friends for a post-brunch pain au chocolat yesterday (saturday about 1 o'clock, i think we got the last of the batch) - and it blew my mind again. the aromas in the store are amazing in and of themselves, wow. the chocolate was still warm and melty this time, and the crunchy bits of the dense flaky pastry are so, so good. i will not get pain au chocolat from anywhere else anymore.

                            1. s
                              surly Jan 14, 2007 10:35 PM

                              until this past november, i'd never made it to patisserie claude in the early hours (around 7:30am), despite the fact that i'd been going there fairly regularly for the past 5-6 years. and i had no idea what i'd been missing all that time - the croissants, which are very good regardless, are really fantastic when they're fresh and warm out of the oven. same with the pain au chocolat. i don't live in the west village, which is why i hadn't been to patisserie claude that early in the morning until recently, but now i've made a point to try to get there between 7-8am whenever possible just for those warm baked goods.

                              for what it's worth, these are not the top croissants i've ever had (the absolute best were in paris) but there's no question that claude's are easily the best i've had in nyc.

                              also wanted to mention that i've had some good croissants at cafe condesa, which is a few blocks northwest of claude on w. 10th st between w. 4th st & 7th avenue south (right next to smalls jazz club). as at claude, i've been fortunate to have landed croissants that were warm and fresh-out-of-the-oven. so on my most recent early morning trip to the neighborhood, i decided to do a taste comparison between the two, and while claude's was definitely superior - flakier, less dense, and better flavor - condesa's version was still pretty good.

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: surly
                                s
                                saritaeatsnyc Jan 14, 2007 11:14 PM

                                Does Claude open at 7? I was under the impression that they opened at 8, but if they did open at 7 that would be amazing.

                                1. re: saritaeatsnyc
                                  s
                                  surly Jan 14, 2007 11:17 PM

                                  yeah, i've been to patisserie claude several times since november between 7:30 and 8am and there were already people inside, chilling out at the tables with a warm, fresh croissant or pain au chocolat, coffee, and newspaper. talk about a perfect morning in the west village.

                                  1. re: surly
                                    carbonara Jan 15, 2007 04:26 AM

                                    a confirmation of that. having the great luck to live a couple of blocks away, we love to hop over in the early mornings.

                                    i love m. claude!

                              2. h
                                haa Jan 15, 2007 05:01 PM

                                I believe they close at 8pm. Is anything left in the evenings? Should I not even bother?

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: haa
                                  guttergourmet Jan 15, 2007 11:08 PM

                                  Nope-snagged one of the last pain au chocolat at 10:30am today-God it's good.

                                2. n
                                  nativeNYer Jan 16, 2007 02:15 AM

                                  ... and they run out of the plain ones sometimes as early as 1pm on weekdays!! i recently posted a long review on claude's. i was sadly surprised that the plain croissants did not blow me away. i had one cold, one warmed in the microwave and one warmed in the oven. but, then again, i didn't get there early enough to snag a chocolate one nor a piping hot plain one. i got there at 1pm and snagged the last remaining plain ones.

                                  1. c
                                    Calcifer Jan 16, 2007 02:33 PM

                                    I was inspired by this thread to go check it out yesterday morning--I found the pain au chocolat too sweet for my liking, but loved their brioche. Will have to try the plain croissant next.

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: Calcifer
                                      n
                                      nativeNYer Jan 16, 2007 07:51 PM

                                      i am very interested in hearing what you think about the plain croissant. i feel that i must be missing something.

                                      1. re: nativeNYer
                                        l
                                        Lucia Jan 16, 2007 08:01 PM

                                        What is there to miss? If you like it, you like it, if you don't, you don't. I'm a fan, but to each their own.

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