La Bergamote-a croissant to rival Claude??!!
- guttergourmet Dec 25, 2007 06:27 AM
I'd never been to La Bergamote before. Stopped in on my way to Chelsea Market Milk Bar for eggnog after my 2nd Ave. Deli adventure in anticipation of my Cuban mother-in-law's pernil (I love the holidays). This place looked like something straight out of the left bank.The pain au chocolat was perfect and though I still prefer Claude's I can see why the croissant police/purists/francophiles might give the nod to La Bergamote as being more authentic. Also picked up a brioche loaf (Mrs GG soaks with eggnog to make the greatest french toast). Lots of French ex-pats and their kids drinking bowls of coffee and consuming massive quantities of pastries. The bouches de noel and other tartes looked amazing and the sandwiches (pheasant pate, duck rillettes, rosette de lyon, saucission d'ail) were tempting even after having already had a pastrami and corned beef sandwich. Has anyone sampled them?
Glad to hear you had a good experience. To me, the Pain Au Chocolat at La Bergamote is pretty decent -- better than Patisserie Claude's, but then I think PC's is only ok. To me, the croissant dough at LB yielded a bit too easily at the beginning, and didn't have the explosion of flavor a great croissant should have.
I live 2 blocks from LB and have seen it through its many renovations and transformations over the years. I have never been the type that "hang around" and drink coffee for endless hours reading papers or novels as many patrons appear to do every time I pass by or stop in there. But I do know it quite well. In its early days My BF at the time and I actually created an in-store experimental video art performance where we played "a song" for each of their signature pastries to help with promoting the shop to the neighborhood... uh anyway fast forward ... . My repeat orders over the years are croissant, pan au chocolat and the truffles, hmmmm the truffles!! I remember when they used to be .25 a piece and are such a rich and bittersweet delight for me I continue to shell out many dollars despite its slight shrinking in size and increase in cost over the years. I've had all the sandwiches you noticed, and yes they are good. They are not THAT good in my opinion for the price tag, and actually they are all very simple combinations that I would find myself still hungry after eating it. For example, the saucission you mentioned is literally 2 or 3 thin slices with a light spread of mustard, and prepared in a dry simple manner. It is not bad, its just so happens to run for about 6 or so dollars that I couldn't imagine myself ever THAT lazy to not just construct it at home (again I live close by). Well I must also admit that it's been years since I have had that sandwich, maybe it has changed. I did in LB early years adore their Rillette sandwich, but over time I found its diminishing spread and increase in cost to be a turn off. I do still get the tuna & egg sandwich at times, It tastes good and is portioned and seasoned properly. You will not be disappointed with anything there, everything is fresh and made daily. My feeling is that the sandwich variety is not the highlight of the shop. Pastries on the other hand, given the depth in preparation and timing, I have no issues with the expense.
La Bergamote is a great find in Chelsea. Having said that, for really good croissants, get thee to Petrossian's Cafe or to Financier. Financier also serves exquisite entremets.