Quality Bakery in Queens
I don't really have a sweet tooth, thus I rarely wanted to play "find a bakery" detective, but something has changed... I grew up with my mother's baking, and she was a creative one, from eclairs to a honeyed, layered cake, to meat pies. She no longer bakes often, oh how I miss her cabbage pie!
When someone's birthday rolls around, I don't really put my apron on, I get my car keys. Unfortunately there is nothing that hits the spot for me, most places have sugary sugary sweet sugary sugary honeyed spiked with sugar dessert. It kills your tastebuds, this overload of sugar, where are the delicate flavors and buttery crust?!
I realized that I don't like Italian dessert, it's too rich for my blood. La Dolce Vita bakery on Metropolitan Avenue is eh, so I stopped buying from them. Please, please tell me there is hope, let me know if you know of a quality bakery with heavenly goodies, how about French?
I am a fan of German, Polish, Hungarian, Russian, Romanian, Georgian, some Armenian and certainly French desserts. Greek, Italian, Indian and all Middle Eastern desserts are too rich and not my favorite.
I don't think I am all that familiar with Chinese, South American, East Asian and other European desserts. In fact I tried Argentinian bakery in Carroll Gardens, I love it, I believe they deliver to Dean &D. and the Met. I tried some Columbian pastry and a Chinese bun. The Chinese bun was a little rubbery and bland. Any good ideas, please share!
I love Bonnelle Bakery in Forest Hills (located on Ascan just south of Austin St). It's mostly French I guess as the best way to describe it. Their fruit tarts that use stone fruits (peach or plum) and pear are the best. They use almond cream filling along with the fruit and it's amazing. They also do very well with almond crossiants, and I've enjoyed their tiramisu.
Two sisters run the place - one is definitely nicer than the other but I'm seeing the less nice one come around a bit lately. Also they will do custom orders. Some items may require more advance notice but this summer I ordered a peach tart on a Friday and it was ready by noon the next day. It was perfect.
Whatever you do, don't bother with Martha's Bakery on Austin St. Quality is pretty bad for most everything except the tiramisu and cheesecake are fine but won't change your life. You would have thought that they were opening up an outpost of Magnolia Bakery the way Martha's was anticipated. The cupcakes are terrible. Frosting tastes like it's out of a can.
At least as far as Forest Hills is concerned, Bonelle is the only decent place around. I agree that their fruit tarts are beautiful and taste pretty good. I have also had their ruggelah (to me not officially ruggelah, as they appear to be rolled from a strip of dough, rather than a triangle) and they are excellent. Their basic bakery cookies lack that "burst of butter" flavor that I look for in a bakery cookie.
I totally second the Martha's Bakery opinion. Given that there are no old school, what I can only call "Jewish-style" bakeries, the kind that sells danish, coffee cakes, rolls, breads and the like, I was hoping that Martha's would be of that type and also be good. Shortly after they opened, I made a bee line for there. Nice place, things look pretty, but for the most part, the stuff has no real flavor. I am guessing that the reason for this is perhaps not using good or real butter, using pre-made fruit fillings, etc., but I can't be sure. It is a real shame.
I hear that there is a bakery on Queens Blvd. in Rego Park that is Hungarian, I think, that is supposed to be pretty good, but I have never tried it. Sorry I don't know the name or exact location. Maybe someone else knows it.
re: Shayna Madel
It's Andre's, and it has the best rugulech in the entire universe. You must get yourself there immediately!!! They have some other good things too, but the rugelach is the draw, it's pricey but worth every penny. You will not find better anywhere. After you go to Andre's stop by Knish Nosh up the block for knish, and excellent matzoh ball soup---
Agreed on Martha's place is a total ripoff, and pretentious attitude. I never really got the appeal of Bonnelle, except for lack of another place, and the place just always looks so grungy to me. La Dolce Vita slipped alot--don't know what happened, although if you ask the owner to make you fresh black and white cookies, if you need a box of them, he will and they are super fresh, and out of this world good.
For Greek pastries, you could try TItan in Astoria, or Artopolis both have good selections, and lots of turnover. I also got a terrific cake from Lety Bakery on 37th ave in Jackson Heights, the owner worked at Veniero's for 20 years and can make anything you want that they have, but since you say you're not crazy about Italian bakeries, perhaps that's not for you.
If you like Romanian, there's a place in Sunnyside, I forget the name at the moment, but do a seach on the boards and you'll come up with it, that's been highly recommended, but I've yet to go.
There's also La Flor Bakery and Cafe, they have some great tarts, and good choc mousse cake, and bread puddings, and some other things...
Let us know how you do--
Andre's Hungarian Bakery
100-28 Queens Blvd,Forest Hills,NY
Forest Hills, NY 11375
I am with you on the grunge of Bonelle! La Dolce Vita was decent, but it's just terrible now. I don't like Greek very much, Armenian desserts are the same, very sugary, they are good in very little portions and with strong, sugarless tea.
I would like to try the Romanian one, if you remember...
What I really NEED is a place that makes fluffy and light cream puffs, those are my absolute favorites, and I haven't found one single one that's heavenly. Most of them are chewy with buttery-heavy cream and taste like they were kept in the fridge open (it's that freezer smell).
You know, even in Italy I wasn't crazy about their dessert. It's just too heavy.
I NEED a french bakery, cream puffs, buttery croissants and even apple strudels.
I found it for you---the one that was talked alot about and then was sold and went downhill was:
La Marjolaine: Skillman between 46 and 47th St - French bakery
The one that is supposedly still very good, and is more known for more European pastry type things is:
nita's european bakery
40-10 Greenpoint Ave., Sunnyside
usually close at 8 pm, sunday earlier, open 7 days/week
I haven't tried either above, so I can give my personal opinion, but do a search for each name and you can read some of the posts...
There is also Pani Dolci on queens boulevard down by main street in-Briarwood--Italian, so not sure if you'd like it or not,,but I think they had cream puffs there...I've gotten a few things there and some stuff is quite tasty--and they're very nice there.
I think you might really like Lety's in Jackson Heights...do you like the cream puffs at Veniero's in the city? They are so sweet there, I think they would make anything you'd like. They made a custom cake for me for my son's 2nd birthday and it was big hit, beautifully done and at a great price. Mike V. recommended them in a post to me, and I am grateful to have found them.
I think I will definitely have to do a Knish Nosh/Andre's run one of these days. Perhaps on the way back from the Chocolate Show in Manhattan on November 10.
I live quite near Bonelle and walk right near it almost every day on the way to my office, but I haven't been in there more than a few times. I am another one who thinks it looks sort of grungy. But, as I said earlier, some of their things are either good or great, though some less so. And it clearly is the best in this area.
I just passed Martha's yesterday. Everything in the window looked beautiful I am tired of these places with nice things with no flavor. I just have to believe its crap ingredients.
I am beginning to wonder if my standards are too high. When I was a kid on Long Island, there were two really great bakeries near where I lived and now, though those two are gone, one has been replaced by another good one. Nothing like that around here. I once made a comment to someone behind the counter at the place near Mom's and he said that a lot of the old-time bakers have basically retired, picked up and moved south.
We can dream...
re: Shayna Madel
Regarding martha's--I actually kinda like the one in Astoria. I think they are owned by the same people. I really like their cranberry loaf. Cupcakes were good, too. Iwasn't thrilled with the pie, though. And you would think it would make good country-style pies.
I love D'Aquila on Francis Lewis for Italian pastries and chocolate cake. They also have gelato which is really yummy. I didn't like the chocolate cake I got at Stork's one time...But I'm intrigued by their donuts now...
You are correct in your belief that they are owned by the same people. I cannot speak for the place in Astoria. I just know that as pretty as the things in the Forest Hills location are and though they may taste fresh, they don't have very much flavor. I am guessing that there is a different baker in each place, but if the boss limits the quality of ingredients he permits his staff to use, or the recipes aren't spot on, even the best baker can't make it work.
I agree about Andre's and the ruglach. Also decent strudel, dobos torte and seven layer cake. I used to love love love the chocolate kugelopf (like a babka) from there, but a few years ago i found the quality of that particular item had declined. Still good, but not the masterpiece it used to be.
I walked into the Bonnelle Bakery once, but it did't appeal to me, maybe I misjudged.
I am so pissed, I can't believe that Scaramouche on Court has closed! It had the best Red Velvet Cake and just delicious pastries and breakfast overall. The owners were very sweet as well. What a bummer, that was the only bakery I liked!
I don't understand the lack of bakeries, are people not interested in freshly baked products, are they happy with factory manufactured sugar infused monstrosities? I'm kinda angry, can you tell?
Pellegrino, I was kind of eyeballing Martha's, it looked charming, but thanks for the warning, I am not going to even try.
I understand - Bonnelle looks and feels rundown. I would think the same exact thing if I was passing by and had no idea about the quality. I had the advantage that my boyfriend lived in the neighborhood before so when I moved there myself he vouched for it.
Martha's looks charming, definitely. It looks like it should work. It totally doesn't.
And I totally agree with you Inthemood about the lack of bakeries - though for me it devolves into a general lack of quality in a lot of retail offerings in FH (both food and non food related). I could go on and on....but fyi, in addition to Bonnelle, there is a nice selection of breads at Cheese of the World. They don't bake on premises but wherever they source from is high quality.
Hard to disagree with the Andre's recommendations. Their apple cake takes me back to another time and place, to my grandmother's kitchen.
I'd like to throw Stork's, an old war horse out Whitestone way, into the mix. I first read about them on a donut thread, "Best Of" board. I have, since, hit this place three times, early in the morning on the way to work. The donuts, especially the jelly, are very fresh and chewy. They lay the sugar onto the surface a tad thick, which is easily remedied with a few brushes of the hand. I will, eventually, make my way through their pastry items.