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Jan 23, 2010 04:22 PM

Cannelle Patisserie in Queens

I finished a wonderful meal at Sripraphai getting my standard green mango catfish salad, curry puffs, yum nur, basil chili pork leg, and was in the mood for some cake. Remembering the suggestion of Cannelle from the CH thread "Best Bakeries" I ventured there to sample their pastries.

In general, I've found the quality of pastry in Queens to be woeful. Cafe Flor has some decent baked goods but not on the level of the best Brooklyn and Manhattan establishments. I detest Taipan style, vegetable shortening disasters that pass for cake in Flushing. In Astoria, many of the Greek bakeries I've tried have been mediocre. I've only had one amazing experience at a tiny little bakery there, that I've never been able to locate since. I had a lovely peach pie that was absolutely divine, perfect crust and fresh summer peaches.

Going to Cannelle, my expectations were low. The ambiance of the place itself is nothing to write home about. Bakeries in Brooklyn have charm factor that Queens bakeries almost never have. There's always this slightly "ghetto" quality.

I looked over the options and I spent a good 5-10 minutes trying to decide what to order. There was a luscious looking pineapple and coconut cake with cream, but I opted for the pain brest, a pear tart, rugelach, bread pudding and a cheese danish. I have a big appetite.

The pain brest was luscious, croissant-like and covered with toasted almonds with a filling of cold hazelnut creme. The bread itself was delicious but I am not a lover of frosting and found the ratio of bread to creme slightly off. The pear tart was wonderful, the texture of the pate sucre was crumbly without sandiness, and the sweetness understated. The rugelach was forgettable. I prefer my rugelach with some cinnamon and a wee bit denser, more buttery. The bread pudding was a custard of croissants that comforts and fills you. Very nicely done. Lastly, the cheese danish is just amazing. They were hot from the oven and redolent with fresh butter and sweet cheese. They had a tempting assortment of baked breads which I will try at a later point when I haven't eaten like a small army.

All in all, this is probably the best bakery in Queens. I found it better than Almondine, and on par with La Bergamote. Little Red Hen, Baked and Sweet Melissa are quite different but I found the quality and execution of Cannelle to exceed Red Hen and Sweet Melissa in certain areas (although Red Hen decorates in a lovely fashion, IMO the actual taste is less impressive) and comparable to Baked, one of my favorites.

What makes Cannelle so truly exceptional is the VALUE. All the top Brooklyn and Manhattan bakeries are much more expensive. I spent less than $10 whereas I would have spent $30 or more at Payard or Lady M. Compared to Cannelle, Sweet Melissa is outrageously expensive.

I met the handsome executive pastry chef, Jean Claude and expressed my surprise that such a wonderful bakery was in a mall, in Queens. He laughed and said that he hears that often. We talked about French bakeries/pastries and I was impressed with his commitment to quality and his extensive knowledge.

I am grateful that Cannelle was mentioned on this board and hope that others who venture to Sripraphai will have the pleasure of sampling fantastic French pastries in Queens.

Cannelle Patisserie
75-59 31st Ave, Queens, NY 11370

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  1. I've driven out of my way twice in the past week just for their croissant.
    And apple strip.
    And baguette.
    And olive bread...

    I adore this place and I'm glad you had a good experience there.

    1 Reply
    1. re: PlomeekSoup

      lol, you sound like me. I really go crazy in a place like Cannelle because $10 will buy a huge bag of goodies. I haven't felt so giddy since eating at the Apple Pie Bakery at CIA in Hyde Park.


    2. Good red velvet cupcakes, too.

      1 Reply
      1. re: majorette

        The red velvet cupcake looks scrumptious, I'm not a big fan of cream cheese frosting, but when they told me there was chocolate in it I put it on my must try list.

        I love the red velvet cake (it has Valrhona chocolate and cinnamon!!) at Baked, my hands down favorite and I hope that Cannelle compares favorably.

      2. going right now to p/u macrons they put aside for me hehe

        5 Replies
        1. re: chefjellynow

          Did I mention I am trying to convince the owner to open a branch in Flushing? :D

          Flushing DESPERATELY needs a good bakery. With such amazing foot traffic, Cannelle would clean up...

          1. re: Pookipichu

            Hi Pookipichu,

            I'm not sure if this would be the type of bakery that you like but I've enjoyed everything that I've had at Paris Baguette in Flushing

            No, it's not truly French by any means but I've liked it better than most Asian bakeries. Their offerings may be peculiar Sino-Gallic hybrids, but that's part of the fun (also, the labels telling what the pastries are can be very helpful and, at times, quite entertaining).

            If you haven't been, I say give it a shot. You might be pleasantly surprised.


            Glendale is hungry...

            1. re: Glendale is hungry

              Thanks Glen for the suggestion. I have tried Paris Baguette (Mulan and Ah Ree So are two of my faves) and unfortunately I didn't like it. I will say though, I think it is the best bakery in Flushing and can see why people would like it, but mostly because the others are so terrible.

              The pastries are pretty enough, but for me, only a step above Taipan mass-produced prefabs in taste. Most of the western-style bakeries I have been to in Asia have been horrible as well. They tend to favor chocolate appearance over chocolate flavor and vegetable shortening over butter. I think that's why Asians go so nuts when they venture into a place like Laduree or Fauchon. Not that there aren't good bakeries in Asia, just few and far between, and for my tastes, none in Flushing.

              I would love to have even one upscale Chinese bakery producing world-class fung-li, mochi or yu-bing. Something similar to/better than Minamoto. Sadly, there is a gaping hole in the Flushing landscape when it comes to sweets. There are 4 Chase Manhattans and 2 Capital Ones,10 miscellaneous banks in a 10 block radius, you'd think an entrepreneur would open up a good bakery to service all that cash wielding foot traffic.

              Luckily, I don't have to venture to Brooklyn or Manhattan now that I have Cannelle. It was probably the best suggestion I've gotten off CH and I am really beyond pleased, now I just have to convince them to open in Flushing. And a branch of Kee's chocolate as well!!! :D

              1. re: Pookipichu

                i'll tell ya, i found paris bakery's fried pastries to taste like old fryer oil, all of there products have this taste that has anything fried in or on it. and there creme's are not good at all
                not happy with that place

                1. re: chefjellynow

                  Well, these things are subjective. Maybe I've been lucky at Paris Baguette. Also, I didn't have anything fried there—just baked, so that could be a factor as well.

                  As far as their cream-filled items, I've only had their custardy things and their things filled with bean paste. Perhaps at Paris Baguette they're better at their bean paste-filled items than they are at their cream-filled items.

                  As I've written before, I definitely plan to go there again. I like Paris Baguette. They're a decent Korean-French hybrid bakery.


                  Glendale is hungry...

        2. I love everything at Cannelle and whenever we have any gatherings or celebrations, we order something from them. Can't beat the taste and the value!

          1. I went to Sripraphai again this weekend, had their wonderful green mango salad with generous sheets of crispy catfish and simmered, sliced duck with broad noodle soup. The broth is heady, savory and rich with duck fat. Cashew chicken was overly sweet this time and they forgot to include cashews! Had to send it back for cashews, but I digress.

            I was anxious to try more sweets at Cannelle and headed there after my meal. I ordered the apple strip, flaky, delicate layers of fresh butter pastry perfectly executed. The apple was delicious, delicately acidic and lightly sweet. My only quibble is there was very little apple in the pastry.

            I had the Coco Fraise as well. I cannot recommend this cake enough. Luscious strawberry mousse with vanilla cake and coconut is perfectly adorned with fresh, slightly tangy strawberry. The bottom layer is a whimsical play on shortbread and a fine play of textures and contrast. What makes the cake is the fine balance of sweetness and flavor. Everything I've had at Cannelle approaches sugar with restraint, a measured hand and light touch. I love strawberry shortcake and Coco Fraise is simply "it".

            I also had the pineapple coconut cake. The cake is bursting with fresh pineapple, bound by vanilla creme and sandwiched by coconut macaroons. The dessert is quite light and refreshing and a good counterpoint to their creole cake.

            I also had the chocolate cookies, large, soft, crumbly cookies with slight chewiness and generous chocolate, buttery walnuts and satisfying thickness.

            I also had the bread pudding, again. Even though there is no cinnamon, the rich custard and croissant pudding is so very satisfying and filling.

            I also tried the creole cake but I despise the flavor of coffee.

            Cannelle's adroit handling of sweetness is what I appreciate most in their desserts. It appeals to an Asian palate especially and I would consider it my first choice for Western dessert being served to my Asian family and friends. If you crave the sting and head rush of copious sugar, Cannelle is not for you.

            I am now looking forward to trying their red velvet cupcakes, which they were unfortunately sold out of.

            7 Replies
            1. re: Pookipichu

              The red velvet cupcake is one item that I think is only so-so from Cannelle.They might be refrigerated -- the ones I've had have always been cold -- although they're not super-dry like refrigerated cupcakes often are. They are, however, very dense and very dark. I remember the flavor being good, but the texture really put me off.

              1. re: jaingmaster

                Ok so there had to be something, because no establishment is perfect. Unfortunately I totally agree with you about the red velvet cupcakes. They are refrigerated and it changes the texture of the cake drastically, clumpy wet crumb. I love how light the frosting is, not too sweet but the refrigeration really lowers the quality of the cupcake drastically. I bet that if the cupcake were not refrigerated, it would be wonderful.

                I also had tiramisu and the first few bites were delicious but the coffee liquer was overly generous and had pooled 2/3rds of the way down in the cup and was revoltingly strong.

                However, Cannelle redeemed itself. I had the apple strip which was amazingly good, buttery, flaky and full of fresh apple flavor, and as with the other desserts, not too sweet.

                I also had their wonderful chocolate chip cookie and was about to order bread pudding when it was snatched under my nose by a customer ahead of me.

                1. re: Pookipichu

                  It makes perfect sense that the red velvet cupcakes or the brownies wouldn't be that good at Cannelle. The pastry chef is classically trained in French pastries, so it wouldn't be anywhere near his strengths. It's like going to a good regional Chinese place and getting the American Chinese food and complaining it's not good. I'm sure the cupcakes and brownies are on the menu because the locals go for that stuff and it sells. But I would think chowhounders would be better at keying in on the solid French pastries by a solid French patissiere. By the way, the best bargain for me are the bread pudding at $1.25. And while the chocolate chip cookies may be good, I think you'll enjoy the palmier cookies even more.

                  1. re: E Eto

                    Well, it's not that I think that the red velvet cupcakes are technically unsound. I think it's the refrigeration that does them in. I have great respect for the chef because for the volume they do, their quality control is excellent and the level of skill high.

                    I agree with you about the bread pudding being an amazing value, my only quibble is that there should be cinnamon! For goodness sakes, the place is called Cannelle and there is no cinnamon in the bread pudding? If there was cinnamon in the bread pudding, it would blow my mind. It is almost perfect and unbeatable for $1.25.

                    I have not tried the palmiers yet but I'll be sure to on my next visit. Their flaky pastries have yet to disappoint me.

              2. re: Pookipichu

                Aside from the Coco Fraise, they make a Strawberry Shortcake which they sell seasonally. It is elusive, but one of my favorite cakes ever. Should be showing up soon.

                Also, their baguettes are about the best I can find in Queens.

                1. re: Justpaula

                  the baguettes and the sourdough bread are actually great at La Boulanderie in Forest Hills, and the gateau breton little cupcakes are better at La Boulangerie, other than that, Cannelle has them beat, and prices cheaper at Cannelle, too.

                  1. re: janie

                    I love Canelle, but I think their baguettes have gone way down hill. They used to be excellent, but I now think they're too much line supermarket Italian bread, not a real baguette. Pastries are still superb, thankfully.