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Jan 13, 2009 06:15 AM

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
      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.

        1. re: italianagambino

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

          1. re: foodsmith

            See for yourself:

            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


                        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 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.
                            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.


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