Top 10 Bakeries in the 5 Boros? [moved from What's My Craving?]
- howyoudoin80 May 25, 2009 11:13 AM
My family and I are baked-good obsessed. Being originally from Pittsburgh, I guess that comes with the territory.
Therefore, It only makes sense that I'm flying my mother and her best girlfriend out for a New York City bakery tour on the occasion of her 54th birthday.
The goal is to show her the best NYC has to offer in bakeries of every sort . . . cakes, pastries, pies, doughnuts, brownies, cookies . . . while mixing it into some great neighborhoods in New York.
I'm renting a car and have the entire day to spend traveing from one to the other.
I"d love the opinion of fellow hounders on which bakeries should be "must visit" for a tour like this . . . also, if there is a "must buy" at each, that would be helpful as 10 bakeries in one day will likely limit us to one or 2 bites per bakery.
The two conditions are:
1) in one of the 5 Boros,
2) does at least one thing wonderfully, better than anyone else!
So far my list consists of:
Alba 7001 18th Avenue Queens
Andre's Hungarian Rego Park, Queens
Mitchel London, UES
Thanks in advance!!
Oh, you're gonna have fun!
Momofuku Milk Bar, East Village, for the cornflake marshmallow chocolate chip cookie
Trois Pommes, Park Slope, for the whoopee pie
Butter Lane and/or Sugar Sweet Sunshine, East Village & Lower East Side respectively, for cupcakes (explore the flavors and frostings)
Billy’s Bakery, Chelsea or Tribeca, for the banana pudding
City Bakery, Flatiron, for a peanut butter cookie
Levain, Upper West Side, for the chocolate-chocolate-chip cookie
Patisserie Claude, West Village, for a croissant and pain au chocolat
Café Margot, Upper West Side, for the almond croissant
Alice’s Tea Cup, Upper West Side or Upper East Side, for the scones
Poseidon, Hell’s Kitchen, for baklava
Kee’s, Soho, for macrarons
Dessert Truck for chocolate bread pudding
Doughnut Plant, Lower East Side, for a cake doughnut
Beard Papa, Greenwich Village, for cream puffs
I really don't love desserts or go crazy for fresh bread for that matter, but the smells when you walk into Rose and Joe's bakery are to die for. The hidden treasure in this neighborhood place is the sicilian pizza in the back.
I hate sicilian slices. Rose and Joe's is not only my favorite sicilian slice, it's one of my two or three favorite pizzas in NY. Dough, Sauce, Cheese, Salt and Rosemary. It appears that is all that is on them, but the flavor is amazing. What's amazing to me is it almost tastes better the next day heated up or cold. The flavors seem to brew. I was so skeptical before trying it, but now it's a special treat 5-6 times a year.
Rose & Joe's Italian Bakery
22-40 31st Street
Astoria NY 11105
re: Sweet Freak
I haven't had the peanut butter cookie at City Bakery, but their melted chocolate chip cookie is awesome.
And I've only had it once but didn't care for the macarons at Kee's. It was too brittle and dry. Too bad Mitzy's is no more in NYC. That would have been the ultimate place for macarons. I would have to say that the best macaron in NYC would be at Madeleine in Chelsea. They keep them refrigerated. Be sure to let them thaw to room temperature before eating as it changes the flavor and texture of the macaron dramatically.
To the OP, I would also add Two Little Red Hens Bakery on the UES or Ladybird Bakery in Park Slope (same bakery) for their chocolate blackout cake. One of the most delicious, richest fudgiest creations out there.
re: Sweet Freak
posted to add links only
187 W 4th St, New York, NY 10014
260 5th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11215
85 Water St, Brooklyn, NY 11201
3 W 18th St, New York, NY 10011
379 Grand St, New York, NY 10002
184 9th Ave, New York, NY 10011
167 W 74th St, New York, NY 10023
Alice's Tea Cup
102 W 73rd St, New York, NY 10023
Alice's Tea Cup
156 E 64th St, New York, NY 10065
629 9th Ave, New York, NY 10036
Sugar Sweet Sunshine
126 Rivington St, New York, NY 10002
, New York, NY 10003
123 E 7th St, New York, NY 10009
5 Carmine St, New York, NY 10014
75 Franklin St, New York, NY 10013
Momofuku Milk Bar
251 E 13th St, New York, NY 10003
442 9th St, Brooklyn, NY 11215
*Laziza in Astoria for middle eastern baked goods. Very good kanafa.
*Patisserie Cannelle in Jackson Heights. Very good french pastries for around half the price as you'll get in Manhattan, and often better too. Especially the croissants. I don't care for Claude's.
*Peter Pan donuts in Greenpoint. Arguably the best donuts in NYC. While Doughnut Plant use great ingredients and often combine good flavors, the donuts themselves are never the sum of the parts. Peter Pan's donuts, though, are just right for the orthodox donut. I haven't had better in NYC.
*Cafe Zaiya in midtown for Japanese pastries. While the competition is pretty lame, Zaiya offers the best of the bunch (you'd have to go to the west coast for better). While I don't offer the best justification for being on the list, if you've never had these kinds of sweets, it's a good introduction. The new Korean bakery in Flushing called Paris Baguette (?) or something like that offers the Korean versions of pastries similar in style to Zaiya, and might be worth exploring.
*Egg Custard King in Chinatown. This recommendation also includes a caveat. They offer several different kinds of egg custards, but I only think one is worth recommending, and it's really good when it's still warm. Not the regular yellow custard, but the slightly paler version with the slightly caramelized top.
*Djerdan in Astoria. Probably not what you're looking for, but if you want savory pastries, try the boreks at Djerdan. They're very flaky pastries filled with meat (especially recommend the special buredjiki... I'm sure I'm butchering the language, but what they call the special burek), or big flat rounds of flaky pastries filled with potatoes, spinach or cheese, that look like pizzas.
*Sullivan Street Bakery / Grand Daisy. Pretty much following the same recipes from the original Sullivan Street bakery, but the breads are great, as well as the Roman style pizzas.
*Rio de la Plata Bakery in Corona. My favorite of the Argentine pastry shops. Anything that involves fruit and cheese, or dulce de leche might be freakishly sweet, but oh so tasty. They also have savory empanadas, but don't get those here. Go across Junction Blvd to La Esquina (or Don Chicho or whatever it's called nowadays), which is an Argentine pizza shop and get empanadas there.
*Pan de Bono shop on 82nd/Roosevelt in Jackson Heights/Elmhurst. They're always cooking them, so get one hot or warm out of the oven. A really great cheese-flavored snack. It's not quite as dense as a pao de queijo but very similar in flavor.
re: E Eto
just to add links
34-04 31st Ave, Queens, NY 11106
Egg Custard King
76 Mott St, New York, NY 10013
73 Sullivan St, New York, NY 10012
Peter Pan Donut & Pastry
727 Manhattan Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11222
Laziza of New York Pastry Shop
25-78 Steinway St, Queens, NY 11103
18 E 41st St, New York, NY 10017
75-59 31st Ave, Queens, NY 11370
Rio de la Plata
94-65 Corona Ave, Queens, NY 11373
250 W Broadway, New York, NY 10013
Egg Custard King
5317 8th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11220
Andre's is merely good, not the least bit great (based on their Manhattan location). If their Hungarian pastries are the best in New York nowadays, that would be a sad commentary and not something to celebrate, because there are probably literally thousands of hole-in-the-walls in Budapest that make better strudels and dobos tortes than Andre's.
You have to get cheesecake at the marvelous place in the Bronx, S&S:
I agree on Kee's and would recommend a selection of her chocolates, though I have nothing whatsoever against macarons (I just always get chocolates when I'm there).
this isn't in the 5 boros, but it's about a block out of the Bronx, (Woodlawn), in Yonkers.
Anna Artuso's Pastry Shop at 969 McLean Ave. It's on the corner of McClean Ave and what would be Martha Ave coming up from the Bronx. My favorite item there is the cherry cheese danish. It's huge, more like a cherry cheese danish coffeecake. Everything they sell there is great. I don't know if they still do, but they also sold hand scraped Italian ices in paper cups during the summer months. I live out of state now and everytime I go back to Woodlawn, I always bring something back with me from Artuso's.
For the Bronx I recommend De Lillo's on 187th just off Arthur Ave for sfogliatelle and biscotti, and Morrone's on Arthur around 186th for their small lobster tails (NOT the big ones); good sfogliatelle, too.
(just north of the Bronx is Patisserie Lulu in Scarsdale, one of my all-time favorite bakeries for just about everything. Off topic here, though).
I agree with Pan that Andre's is not great and may not even qualify as good -- both Manhattan and Queens -- if the standard one uses is the great Hungarian bakeries of Yorkville in the 1950s-1980s. On the other hand I disagree that one can easily find better pastry in Budapest...
The truth is that there is some very good pastry in Budapest, including some that rivals what, say, Rigo or Nemeth's was doing in NYC when it had a Hungarian neighborhood, but it requires long, hard work, and downing lots of very bad baked goods to separate the wheat from the ergot. Andre's and Budapest cukraszdas (pastry shops) suffer from the same problem: 60 years -- three generations of cooks separation from the great recipes and ingredients of the golden age of Hungarian cooking. The Andre's chefs and thos in Budapest today were all trained after the start of WW II, indeed all or almost all were born after the War started, and so have no personal memories of, or deep attachment to, the pastries that one wishes continued to thrive somewhere, anywhere.
there are two things worth driving for at Andres in Forest Hills - their cheese danish and their rugelach. Now another place I would really recommend is called Reichters Bakery in Little Neck on the Horace Harding Service Road of the LIE - one block past Bally's and on the same block as the post office. They make great old fashioned Jewish rye and corn bread but the family favorite there is their mandel bread with chocolate chips and walnuts - it's not hard like biscotti, but sliced to order with chocolate drizzled over the top - it's worth the ride - Reichters hamantasen are also fabulous !
I think Lazzizza's is out of business... alas - they had great middle eastern bakery items - some standard stuff (but excellent quality) and many unusual things too.
Is this the place?
I want to reiterate some of SweetFreak's & others' recommendations:
- Levain, Upper West Side - I prefer chocolate-chip cookie
- Patisserie Claude, West Village - also try the peach or pear square "tart", can't remember what it is actulally called
- Kee’s, Soho - creme brulee chocolate, but call ahead to reserve
- Little Red hen, UES - blackout cake
- Little Pie Company, Midtown west - warm slice of sour cream apple walnut pie a la mode
- Clinton St Bakery, LES - svaory scones, slice of cake, anything really (and don't need to wait in horrific line for a take out pastry
Please do report back with your final schedule...
maison du choclate on 80 & madison, the finest chocolatier bar none in nyc had many extremely well done chocolate pastries, cakes and cookies.
Venieros is a patiserrie on 11st and first ave. Huge variety of attractive, delicious Italian pastries, cookies, pies, cakes. Not ultimate quality but fair priced and cafe is open late..(do not go on weekends).
My Top two, in no particular order
Sugar Sweet Sunshine for the Pistacchio Cupcakes
Fortunato Brothers for the Canollis
Dear all - sorry for the delay . . . but I wanted to take some time to encourage any like- minded individuals to take a tour like this! It was one of the best experiences of my New York life (7 years now).
Advice: For a group of four choose 2-3 items at max at each stop. Nibble accordingly. Bring Water. Plan on zero actual meals during the day. You will need a car to cover all of this and should start no later than 9am.
My Final Journey Included:
1) Donut Plant - One Cake and One Jelly Filled - both marvelous . . . part of me hated the schtick of eating bougie flavored donuts . . . but I can't argue with the fact that they are damn good.
379 Grand St, New York, NY
2) Le Brioche Cafe in Brighton Beach. This was a stop partially for the "scene" which is unlike anything my Pittsburgh kin had ever seen and partially for the baked goods themselves. The walls virtually spill out with pastries that appear to be teetering on counterops that might, at any moment, topple over and kill you with sweetness. There was an older woman working there with very dark hair and memorable makeup - I wasn't sure if she was happy to see me or not, but it ads to the Brighton Beach mystique.
la brioche cafe - brighton beach
1073 Brighton Beach Ave, Brooklyn, NY -
3) Cammereri & Monteleone's in Caroll Gardens. We went there 100% for the lard bread. If you haven't had it then you really don't know. if you are lucky, you get there early and they have little finger sized mini-loaves that provide the perfect savory bite. Essentially an artisan bread with chunks of prosciutto and fat . . . stellar. Even though they have dropped the Cammereri's name in favor of Monteleone, I will always call it Cammereri's . . b/c it reminds me of Moonstruck.
355 Court St, Brooklyn, NY
4) Damascus Bakery for Lahmajun, Spinach Pie, Zahtar Bread and Baklava. I love Damascus and will often bike from my home in harlem to Atlantic Avenue just to have a snack from there. I am a Lahmajun fanatic and therefore was instantly drawn to the place. I added it to the tour for 2 factors (another savory lunch time stop) and . . . the middle eastern aspect made for a unique point.
195 Atlantic Ave # 1, Brooklyn, NY -
5) La Guli in Astoria. The more time I spend in Queens, the more I realize it may just be the boro I was born to live in. La Guli is a monument to that fact. La Guli feels old b/c it is old. They still have the tin canisters of bakery twine in red and white hanging from the ceiling that is used to tie purchases. They have great Baba Rhum . . . homemade elephant ears and, my favorite, homemande Torrone (nougat and almond artisan candy).
2915 Ditmars Blvd,
6. Artopolis in Astoria. When I first ventured into the shopping plaza in which Artopolis resides, I must admit that I was not expecting much. It looks like a place where a doctor's office might be! I was flat out WRONG. Artopolis is everything I didn't know a Greek bakery could be. It is both fantastically welcoming and exotic at the same time. Like La Brioche, you get the feeling that baker's assistants arrive at 5am to artfully arrange the selection of Greek pastry. I felt as though I was in a boutique and not a bakery. You are fearful of getting too close to any individual item b/c it is both gorgeous and delicate. Had Baklava, a powder-sugar-covered pastry knot and a sesame covered cookie . . bought an almond cake for the road.
2318 31st St, Astoria, NY -
7) St Honore . . . we figured, well, we are in Astoria. The honest thing here is that we didn't find anything to knock our socks off. Admittedly, this was our 7th bakery of the day. We had a croissant and enjoyed the butter and dough alright, but didn't have a remarkable experience. I imagine I should have paid more attention in planning this stop.
St Honore Patisserie
3318 Ditmars Blvd, Astoria, NY -
8) S&S Cheesecake in the Bronx. Yep, we went there and yep, it was closed. Sucks to be us.
222 W 238th St, Bronx, NY -
9) Momofuku Milk Bar was a great stop. It was so different and irreverant compared to the other choices. We had the kitchen sink cookie and some ice cream. It was awesome. Milk bar should be part of any tour as it represents what a modern bakery can evolve into.
Momofuku Milk Bar
207 2nd Ave, New York, NY -
10) Sullivan Street Bakery. By this point, it was definitely time for something savory. We had little pitzetta-style-breads with olive oil, fennel and tomato.
Sullivan Street Bakery
73 Sullivan St, New York, NY -
I was at Kee's two days ago and a man literally kicked me because he wanted to buy macaroons. Yes, they are that good. He told the shop girl to pick out four and threw money on the counter and told her to keep the change, eating them on the way out.
Kee's lavender macaroon is better than Fauchon in Paris.
In Dumbo across for Jacque Torres.
Really French. Great pastry, croissant, sandwiches and the most amazing cakes! Madeleines to tempt Proust. Gorgeous and delicious.
We were just in Artopolis in Astoria last weekend for the first time - and were very impressed by both the store itself (which is very attractively designedl) and the quality of the baked goods - not just Greek (excellent baklava selection and galaktoboureko, among many choices), but French-style and Italian (large selection of different flavors of taralle) as well.
On the savory side, we took home a spanakopita and a tyropita - both crisped up perfectly in the oven and were delicious. We'll return soon!
You can't really get the original bagel anymore, but you can still get the original bialy! Kossar's, on Grand St. between Norfolk and Essex. Yes to City Bakery, where you will find originality combined with old-fashioned big flavor. You might not want to miss their state-of-the-art hot chocolate while you are there. It's Ruby et Violette, on W. 50th St., for a cookie experience you'll never recover from.