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Are there any authentic French patisseries in the city?

I'm trying to study the art in my home cooking but I have nothing to compare my results to.

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  1. Dumas was my favourite patisserie years ago, but I think they have closed. There's Payard.

    1. Patisserie Claude
      187 W 4th
      Madeleine Patisserie
      128 W 23rd St
      www.madeleinesmadison.com/
      La Bergamote
      169 9th Ave
      Marquet Patisserie
      15 E 12th St

      21 Replies
      1. re: italianagambino

        Not a fan of Marquet...everything I had was dried out.
        Second the rec for Payard.

        www.thelunchbelle.com

        1. re: italianagambino

          Thx, are any of these considered authentic and worth traveling to?

          1. re: foodsmith

            See for yourself:
            http://www.payard.com/subcategory.php

            IMHO, Payard is definitely worth a trip. I recently visited for dinner and had an excellent, authentic cassoulet. They also seat for high tea at 4 in the afternoon. the front of the establishment is a cafe area and you can purchase pastries and breads there (and sit and eat them, if you can find an empty seat--but it's been packed tight any time I've gone).
            Francois Payard, the owner, is a very well-known and respected pastry chef--from France. It doesn't get more authentic than that. When I was there last, he was walking around, chatting with patrons. If he's there when you visit, perhaps you can ask for some tips!

            1. re: foodsmith

              Depends what you're looking for....I'd say no, personally. If you were after something specific like a macaroon, or a croissant, you might get a different answer.
              Certain items are passable, but over all our French bakeries aren't too solid at the moment. Most of it just looks good in the case.

              1. re: sugartoof

                Very interesting. What is it about the greater whole of these places that falls short? I don't want to try to copy the wrong thing :)

                1. re: foodsmith

                  If you replicate Payard, you will be doing quite well. It is not the most ornate, intricate work but the quality is there. I mention this since I am not sure, exactly, what you seek.
                  I have not gone to Dousoeur but everywhere else can be skipped.
                  Too bad J Torres does not work his personal magic on the little wonders.

                  NYC ain't Paris when it comes to patisseries, that is a certainty.

                  1. re: foodsmith

                    Well you're hearing dry, and doughy come up as adjectives here...I'd say the thing most do wrong is chintz out on the butter, and other expensive ingredients to cut corners. The quality has declined over the past three years, I'd say, with a few once great bakeries just averaging so so these days. In other words, there's less difference in the results, from the proper technique you expect of a french bakery, then some of the crappy chains. Au Bon Pain might turn out a better croissant on any given day then some of the others mentioned. Yikes.

                    Payard's offerings strike me as very pretty but dull to the taste. They didn't satisfy me, and seemed to lack soul, and richness in my opinion.

                    1. re: sugartoof

                      What kind of quality butter should I be using? I buy organic unsalted butter at Whole Foods. I also buy cultured unsalted butter, but I only use that for savory cooking. Is there some other kind I should be buying for French pastries?

                      1. re: foodsmith

                        Oh I honestly wouldn't be the one to ask, but a good butter can make or break a pastry. Bakers usually experiment until they find a butter they trust and like working with. The problems I mention stem more from cutting the butter down for cost reasons then the quality of the butter itself. There are many high end butters out there, and the European stuff would probably make a big difference.

                        1. re: sugartoof

                          Also just to add....I've found Trader Joe's branded butter to be really nice, and of course, budget friendly.... but it can be difficult to work with when baking. It's important to follow the recipe to the dot on butter. If it says room temp, it really will make a difference if it's not, and once butter melts, it changes properties.

                    2. re: foodsmith

                      Actually, I do not find Payard's vienoisserie overwrought with beauty like some shops(not in US). His choco work is great, overall, in terms of taste.. Not that I like everything that is offered. In fact, there are 2 items that I do not in particular(important ones). I do not like overly sweetened desserts and it would not be proper for the type of desserts available there to be extra heavy. I think they are about right given their size. I cannot taste soul, perhaps they could be richer but couldn't we all.
                      As for butter, there are many as has been said. For a reference, check some food sites, in particular one that contains the word "SAVE" to begin. I am trying to convey info without getting this post deleted by the watchdogs. If you figure out the site, it has a great gallery or list of butters, somewhere.
                      And as was stated, great butter is definitely much more expensive than Land O Lakes, unfortunately.

                      1. re: dietndesire

                        Wait this is bizarre. There is a food site that has a gallery of butters that would be helpful to people here on Chowhound, but you're not allowed to mention this site? Am I following you right? I am not aware of any food site with the word SAVE. Is this site a food shopping site as opposed to a food lovers community, and hence you're not allowed to post links to e-commerce sites, due to protecting Chowhound's advertising interests? If that's the case I think this would be an OK exception.

                        1. re: foodsmith

                          Maybe they meant for you to try adding the letter's U and R to the above word.

                          1. re: foodsmith

                            Listen to sugartoof above me.
                            Anyway, go to galleries, then choose Ultimate, it is in there, 30 selections.
                            Also, now you can go to a good resource in general instead of the lemming fest of garbage that is most places.

                      2. re: italianagambino

                        italianagambino,

                        Madeleine Patisserie does not have a website. The link you have provided is for a Madeleine's Patisserie (note the apostrophe "s") in Madison, Wisconsin.

                        1. re: RGR

                          ok, my fault....im sure you can google it and figure it out.

                          1. re: italianagambino

                            Google will not turn up a website for Madeleine Patisserie because, as I mentioned, they do not have a website.

                          2. re: RGR

                            madeleine is delicious! not sure how authentic or whatnot, but their almond croissant (even the mini) is crazy delicious and more than satisfying.

                          3. re: italianagambino

                            Agree -- Patisserie Claude (Pablo's place) -- My favorites -- the very light and crispy plain croissants - fresh out of the oven (3 feet from counter) in the morning (I find the pain au chocolate a little too sweet and don't often eat almond croissants), unmatchably delicious coffee eclair with not too sweet filling and slightly sweeter frosting, small assortment of very small pretty and delicious cookies good for parties. The little quiches are nourishing and tasty (good ingredients) if not pretty.

                          4. Not really a true french patissiere, there is Silver Moon on the UWS. They do have serviceable baguettes etc. http://silvermoonbakery.com/
                            It is not a perfect example for your testing project, but it cam serve as a useful comparision, maybe.

                            1. Dousoeur de Paris is a new place I have not tried but would like to. It has good reviews on Yelp, Serious Eats, and the NY Times. Has anyone tried it yet?

                              652 10th Ave
                              (between 45th St & 46th St)
                              New York, NY 10036

                              (212) 315-4543

                              5 Replies
                              1. re: kerokaeru

                                I haven't been there but I did pass by it, and it definitely looked like an authentic French patisserie, complete with a macaron tree in the window. Looks pretty charming in there.

                                1. re: kerokaeru

                                  Yes, tried it today and so happy I fell upon it after tacos at that crazy mexican deli...perfect macarons and really charming place.

                                  1. re: rmw102176

                                    How do they compare to Madeleine Patisserie or La Maison du Chocolat's macarons?

                                    1. re: kathryn

                                      I haven't had the macarons there, but just had some desserts today. The room is very pretty, but it's not necessarily a place where I feel like lounging for some reason. Perhaps it's the powder blue room.

                                      It's kind of odd. Every time I've passed by, there's nobody working out there in the front, and today was no exception. You're in a small room not knowing what to do. Is it waiter service? Do you just order your stuff and seat yourself? Eventually somebody came out, and I told her I wanted a couple of pastries from the fridge case and that we were going to sit down. We got a mocha cake and some French pastry composed of a couple of hazelnut caramel-filled cream puffs. They were good, but way too cold as it came straight from the fridge, which blunted the taste a bit. And the pastry from the puffs were a bit soggy as I think they were in the fridge for a while. It was a bit expensive as the bill was about $15 for two TINY pieces of pastry. When I left, I noticed that there was a tiny menu posted in a bottom corner outside. Turns out that they've also got a selection of savory items. I really wish that the menu was more prominent, and that there would be somebody always outside to greet you and let you know what the deal is.

                                  2. re: kerokaeru

                                    While the pastries I tried were delicious, they were teensy (definitely smaller than I ever received in France) and way too expensive.

                                  3. This was in the NYT on WED. I live in San Diego, so I can not vouch for it, but it sounds good.

                                    Good Luck.

                                    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/07/din...

                                    Dousoeur is at 652 10th Avenue (46th Street), (212) 315-4543.

                                    1. Patisserie Claude, Financier, La Bergamote, Madeleine, Payard.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: Lucia

                                        Thanks to you and everyone for all these great responses. I have a lot of places to now try and compare.

                                      2. I love some of the things at Ceci Cela and they could not be more authentic.

                                        http://www.cecicelanyc.com/

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: stuartlafonda

                                          I'm not that impressed with them. The mini eclairs I got there last time were OK but kind of dry and struck me as inferior to most ordinary neighborhood patisseries in most any French town or city. I think I liked some of their tarts better, though, when I got some quite a while ago. Don't get me wrong; I'd still consider getting something there if I were in the area (probably a tart), but I wouldn't recommend a special trip.

                                          1. re: Pan

                                            The chocolate almond croissant is marvelous as is the round cherry tart. They make a terrific cheese danish that is decidedly un French and one of the best I have ever had.Is the place better then "an ordinary neighborhood patisserie in most any French town or city"? I don't know as I have not spent enough time in France to render such an opinion but the place has the right look and feel, the Chef certainly has the backround and most importantly he makes some tasty things. I am nearby very often so I don't have to make a trip, but if I was looking to sample the goods at an NYC French patisserie I would have it on my list.

                                        2. Inasmuch as I terribly like Patisserie Claude's (or Pablo's?) baked goods, I have a hard time classifying his baked goods as authentic - simply because the texture are much more dense and, in some regards doughy, than what I would consider authentic French.

                                          I think Balthazar provides some patisseries that are more authentic.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: RCC

                                            I agree regarding the assessment of Claude.

                                          2. Tisserie makes some decent pastries, as well. Not everything is traditionally French, but I've been impressed by their products.

                                            www.thelunchbelle.com

                                            7 Replies
                                            1. re: LeahBaila

                                              I actually thought Tisserie was pretty bad. But it doesn't really matter as it's closed.

                                              1. re: Miss Needle

                                                They're not closed...Just moving to a new location in Soho.

                                                www.thelunchbelle.com

                                                1. re: LeahBaila

                                                  Oh, interesting. I did not know that. Thanks for the info.

                                                  Well, for the OP, IMHO, I really don't think Tisserie is in the same league as the other pastry shops listed here. The pastries look a lot better than they taste. While not quite Au Bon Pain quality, it's not too far from it either.

                                                  1. re: Miss Needle

                                                    You're welcome.
                                                    Agreed...that's why I told the OP that they're not all very traditional.

                                                    www.thelunchbelle.com

                                                    1. re: Miss Needle

                                                      The brownie pie was supposed to have been good. Not exactly french though.
                                                      It wasn't a high end pastry shop by any means though. I think the new store will be inside a clothing store by the way.

                                                      1. re: sugartoof

                                                        Somehow I am under the impression that Tisserie is a Japanese chain. Does anyone know?

                                                        EDIT: ok, I did my own research- they're Venezuelan.

                                                        Anyway, just to throw in my 2 cents, I think the best answer is that the OP is likely to have the best results by researching (the lists in this thread are a good place to start) where people tend to go for what product. For example, Claude's for croissant. Payard for gateau. Madeleine for macaron. And so on.

                                                        1. re: vvvindaloo

                                                          Great idea. I'll go back and read through the thread and update my OP with a list cross referencing the pastry to the location. Folks if you haven't already said why you like a certain place, please leave a comment saying which pastry you thought was canonically represented.

                                              2. Petrossian Bakery does a very credible job with pastries and cakes.
                                                www.orderinny.wordpress.com

                                                4 Replies
                                                1. re: xigua

                                                  also a fan of bergamote. if you're in brooklyn you should check out almondine--definitely as good as what i've had in france.

                                                  1. re: xigua

                                                    It's been a while (perhaps 2 years or so), but while I found their croissants excellent, I was very unimpressed with other stuff. I'm trying to remember if I got a chausson aux pommes; it was some kind of tart (perhaps pear rather than apple), and it did absolutely nothing for me.

                                                    1. re: Pan

                                                      hmm...chausson aux pommes are generally more like a turnover, which i haven't ever seen there. i have had their pear tart, and you're right--probably the most underwhelming items they have there. everything else i've had was quite delicious though.

                                                      1. re: waxyjax

                                                        You're right; I suppose it couldn't have been a chausson and was probably their pear tart.

                                                  2. If you're doing chocolate based cakes, La Maison du Chocolat compares quite favorably too.
                                                    www.orderinny.wordpress.com

                                                    1. New place in Hell's Kitchen: Dousoeur Patisserie. Have only tried one thing, and it wasn't too exciting, but that's what I get for being a cheapskate. They did have some great artistry if nothing else. Run by 2 Parisian women (sisters?) 46th and 10th.

                                                      2 Replies
                                                      1. re: orthorunner

                                                        Interesting, I'm noticing a theme. A lot of places spend all their time making stuff look amazing but not taste amazing? Do you recall what you ate?

                                                        1. re: foodsmith

                                                          She called it something that sounded like "cannoli" but it definitely wasn't that. A little like an amuse bouche version of chocolate souffle cake.
                                                          I think part of the reason it wasn't as good was that, being pre-wrapped, it probably isn't as fresh as the fancier things in the display case. I only had a few dollars with me (impulse buy!) so I was limited.... more reason to go back and try it out again!

                                                      2. Cannelles Patisserie, Jackson Heights, Queens
                                                        http://cannellepatisserie.com/home.html

                                                        Petrossian Cafe, 7th Ave between 57th & 58th Sts
                                                        http://www.petrossian.com/Bakery-10.html

                                                        Financier Patisserie, several locations near Wall Street
                                                        http://www.financierpastries.com/inde...

                                                        Almondine, DUMBO Brooklyn
                                                        http://www.almondinebakery.com/

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: racer x

                                                          Second Financier, specifically the Cedar St. location, for the croissants, which constitutte the Platonic ideal.

                                                        2. Above 96th St in Manhattan there are also

                                                          La Tropezienne, 1st ave near 110th St

                                                          and

                                                          Patisserie des Ambassades, 8th ave bet 118th & 119th Sts
                                                          http://www.patisseriedesambassades.co...

                                                          (I haven't eaten at Patisserie des Ambassades, so can't vouch for the quality)

                                                          1. What about Bouchon?? Are the macaroons decent there?? any suggestions for some great macaroons??

                                                            4 Replies
                                                            1. re: STA1985CH

                                                              Yes, the macaroons are decent. They also carry the city's best pate de fruits. Good call on Bouchon, STA.

                                                              www.thelunchbelle.com

                                                              1. re: STA1985CH

                                                                Actually, the best macarons I've tasted so far that's recently out in NYC is by Itzy Bitzy Patisserie (link: http://www.itzybitzypatisserie.com/).

                                                                It's recently sold (as of the past weekend) in the Tafu (on 51st St off of Lexington Ave), if you're not willing to order 2 dozens through the aforementioned site.

                                                                Tina
                                                                http://thewanderingeater.com

                                                                1. re: chocokitty

                                                                  I have had a sort of obsession with macaron's lately, but have only been able to try them at Madeline patisserie (and la tulipe in westchester) since getting my first taste at 11 Madison park.

                                                                  I though Madeline's patisserie was good, but in my search for more macarons i came across Itzy Bitzy Patisserie, and read about Mitzy's class with Pierre Herme and first sale at the Brooklyn flea market.

                                                                  Its great to see that she is making great macarons and able to sell them at Tafu. I can not wait to try them!

                                                                2. re: STA1985CH

                                                                  Bouchon Bakery's's macrons are GIANT, and sometimes soggy, and oddly gummy. The texture seems all off. They are very hit or miss dependent upon how old they are (seasonal ones tend to be a little bit better). But the flavors just don't seem worth the effort of buying. Very disappointing, especially in comparison to MItzy's or La Maison or Madeleine Patisserie (after they warm up a bit).

                                                                3. I just tried a pain au chocolat from Ceci Cela today and it was DISGUSTING! It was AWFUL. Dry, flavorless, and there was hardly any chocolate in it. Probably the worst pain au chocolat I've tasted. Maybe that was a fluke? I can't imagine that a patisserie with the reputation of Ceci Cela could make a pain au chocolat that badly.

                                                                  I also tried a Doughnut Plant yeasted chocolate covered doughnut and it was lackluster.

                                                                  I should just learn to stick with my favorite places.

                                                                  6 Replies
                                                                  1. re: j.jessica.lee

                                                                    What are your favorite places? By the way, I saw in another post that you're a professional violinist. I'm a professional flutist, and it's possible we might know each other.

                                                                    1. re: Pan

                                                                      the music world being what it is, we probably do! although if you don't know me from my chowhound id (i should have chosen something not as revealing!), we might not.... are you in an orchestra?

                                                                      my favorite place is patisserie claude as far as french patisseries go. i adore the pain au chocolat and the apricot tarts. the pain aux raisins is also delicious!!! i also love bouchon bakery, but haven't tried their croissants yet. their macarons are definitely not on par with the rest of their stuff, though. i haven't tried payard, financier, madeleine, or la bergamote, though i did step into payard the other day. nothing looked that good to me and the whole atmosphere felt very impersonal and it kind of turned me off.

                                                                      apart from french patisseries, i have other favorites in the city for sweets in different categories. :)

                                                                      what are YOUR favorite places?

                                                                      1. re: j.jessica.lee

                                                                        I honestly don't have French patissseries enough in this city to have clear favorites. Sadly, it's easier for me to find fault with the places I've tried.

                                                                        I'm a recitalist, chamber player, and orchestral freelancer (and I also play jazz.). I'm thinking it's possible we might have played a freelance gig together somewhere along the line. But you've gotta admit, there are a lot of violinists named Lee. :-)

                                                                        P.S. The URL for my website is on my profile.

                                                                    2. re: j.jessica.lee

                                                                      I don't think it's a fluke. I think they just don't care. I just tried Ceci Cela a few days ago and will never return. I've been recluctant to go to Patisserie Claude since his retirement, so for this year's galette de rois I thought I'd check out Ceci Cela because they are near my office. CC didn't have any galettes up front, so they had to retrieve one in the back for me. I mistakenly thought this meant I would get a freshly baked galette. When I opened the box at home, I discovered that they gave me a cold and soggy cake straight out of the fridge. I didn't get the crispy, flaky almond goodness that I had been looking forward to. What a waste of $29.

                                                                      1. re: sakura

                                                                        Try Canelle in Jackson Heights. Authentic and affordable.

                                                                        1. re: sakura

                                                                          sakura, yes, claude did retire, but he's back and i'm not sure whether it's for good or just for fun. i saw him last week and i stepped in today for a pain aux raisins and there he was in the back as usual! when i saw him last week, i wasn't sure if i was hallucinating or not, but it really was him!

                                                                      2. Yes! Payard, of course, but just discovered a tiny patisserie in Hell's Kitchen called Dousoeur de Paris, on Tenth Ave near 47th st.. Owned by two parisian sisters, just had crispy, fluffy macarons and delish chocolat chaud. Three tables only, croque monsieurs, ets. VERY charming and special.

                                                                        1. Payard, Petrossian, Bouchon

                                                                          1. another vote for Payard. Pastries/display most like expensive French patisseries. They also make a mean croque monsieur and some of the best macaroons I'vehad in NY. Francois Payard also published a great and surprisingly easy dessert cookbook. I've made several tartes and they've all come out perfectly. You could easily order it on Amazon or take a trip there and see for yourself.

                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                            1. re: preppie foodie

                                                                              I think I just saw that book in the library. Is it about chocolate and pastries? Is there a gateau mille inside with green tea cream? If so, impressive book.

                                                                              1. re: foodsmith

                                                                                to foodsmith
                                                                                I think that might be a more recent book. The one I have has a yellow striped cover and something chocolatey on the cover.

                                                                            2. Sorry to hijack thread, but is there anything in midtown east?

                                                                              6 Replies
                                                                              1. re: wintermute2.0

                                                                                Caffe Martier along 2nd Ave near 53rd Street.
                                                                                they serve baked goods from Balthazar.

                                                                                1. re: wintermute2.0

                                                                                  Mitzy's macarons can now be found at Tafu. I haven't had Mitzy's, but if they are half as good as Pierre Herme's, they are definitely worth getting.

                                                                                  http://newyork.seriouseats.com/2009/0...

                                                                                  There are macarons at the HSBC bank on 5th Ave near Lord and Taylors. But I didn't like them at all. The truffles, while not a French pastry, should not be missed. You can also find some french desserts at Corrado Bakery at the market at Grand Central Terminal. And there's a branch of Le Pain Quotidien near Bryant Park.

                                                                                  1. re: Miss Needle

                                                                                    Corrado's pastries suck. (And I've tried them at several of their shops.)
                                                                                    They look good, but do not taste anywhere near as good as they look.

                                                                                    Payard's used to be a favorite, but on my most recent few visits, the tastes have been off (which is why I did not list them in my earlier post). Not sure what the story there is.

                                                                                    1. re: racer x

                                                                                      I think it depends on what you get as it seems that Corrado doesn't bake all of their stuff but just carries items from other bakeries such as Balthazar and Bouley. I haven't had too many pastries there -- the only one that I remember is a lemon tart and apple turnover, and both have been fine IMO. Probably not the best bakery in NYC, but there aren't too many choices in Midtown East.

                                                                                      1. re: Miss Needle

                                                                                        I shop at GC Market almost every Saturday as I live nearby. We like Balthazar and Bouley baked products, and so what particular items at Corrado comes from Balthazar and Bouley?

                                                                                        1. re: RCC

                                                                                          Unfortunately, I don't make it a habit of eating pastries due to some gluten issues (except for macarons which are generally gluten-free). So I wouldn't be able to tell you what came from what. Sometimes Corrado labels their sourcing of pastries. I would ask the people working there.

                                                                                          btw, I just remembered I haven't had the lemon tart but the lemon square.

                                                                                2. Everyone knows about Payard, so I'll mention Financier, 3 locations in the Wall St area. it's a Laduree copycat. There is a post on it at http://spooninandforkin.com, or Lady M in the Upper East. Financier is much better than both.

                                                                                  http://spoonandforkin.com

                                                                                  4 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: amedemonet

                                                                                    I do like Financier for some stuff, but I don't think I'd ever compare them to Laduree. I'm not sure what the basis of comparison is besides the fact that they're both French patisseries.
                                                                                    Lady M's chestnut mille crepe (http://www.flickr.com/photos/aranciap...) is out of this world. The service can be a bit snooty (or just plain bad) sometimes, and the one latte I had there was subpar even though they use a pretty good bean, but their cakes are wonderful.
                                                                                    I haven't been to Petrossian in a while, but it used to be a favorite of mine, notwithstanding the strange cafe area layout and generally poor service. However, some of their pastries are on offer at the La Colombe Cafe on Church St and I've found them to be just as good as I remembered.
                                                                                    http://projectlatte.com

                                                                                    1. re: amedemonet

                                                                                      Financier is more like a Euro starbucks. It has good coffee (unlike 'Bucks) and the pastries are fine enough, but it's not Laduree. I do like it, though, for coffee when I'm in the neighborhood.

                                                                                      1. re: rmw102176

                                                                                        Speaking of Financier,,,, well not exactly,,, the financiers at Ceci Cela are awesome. Is the pastry authentic French? I guess it is. The chef is from France, and the pastry is delicious.

                                                                                        1. re: rmw102176

                                                                                          Oh please. Starbucks wishes they served pastries that good.

                                                                                      2. Ceci Cela is my favorite authentic French Patisserie. The best Croissants and lots of other yummy items!

                                                                                        1. This is probably old news for this thread; Payard closed at the end of June 2009. As I haven't seen it posted, I thought I'd do it myself...now I continue my quest for a great coffee eclair. I've tried making them, but while I had a good shell and filling, I just couldn't get that glaze right. Has anyone tried to make coffee, or for that matter, chocolate eclairs? I just need the glaze part!

                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: joannabar

                                                                                            Financiere is good for New YOrk. Payard was better, but is no more.

                                                                                            Imho, hasn't been a really good French pastry shop since Jean Kahn closed Les Friandises.

                                                                                            1. re: ChefJune

                                                                                              I tend to prefer some of Financier's little cakes over those that Payard used to have.

                                                                                          2. Bouley Bakery in Tribeca. My favorite is their puff pastry with pistachio cream and fresh raspberries. It is proof that God exists.