Who makes the best baguette?
Bad food disappoints me but nothing disappoints me more than a basket of bad bread when dinding out.
I don't mind a poor quality ham but I don't forgive bad bread.
I walk into a deli for lunch and if their breads don't look good, I walk right out.
It's so darn hard to find good bread even in NYC.
I used to love Amy's baguette but on my recent trip to Amy's, I was disappointed that their baguette wasn't as good as they used to be. What a 'tragic'.
Balthazar is good but even they seem to have bad bread days. Their crust is a bit too thin and inside needs to be chewier.
So who makes the best baguette these days???
I have not been successful in finding a good baguette, though I keep trying.
The problem is, I think, that they are not fresh enough when sold. Baguettes have a shelf life of only a few hours, as the boulangeries in France know, so we are perpetually buying stale specimens here in New York.
My compromise for good bread is buying the second batch of chiabatta at Sullivan Street Bakery (which typically comes out of the oven between noon and one in the afternoon.
Sullivan Street Bakery
533 W 47th St, New York, NY 10036
I've not been to the shop in the Essex Street Market. I've only had it at restaurants (I think EMP uses it) and from the Corrado near my apartment. I think it could be good in theory, but the specimens I have had have not been impeccably fresh. My one serious complaint about EMP is that their bread is too hard, and somewhat stale. I am curious, however, if the bread at the new Payard shop is good.
Essex Street Market
120 Essex St, New York, NY 10002
Le Pain Quotidien makes a very decent baguette, imo, and is readily available at the myriad of LPQ locations scattered about town. It is large and anything unused freezes well. I believe they bake them throughout the day, thereby reducing chances to get something less than fresh.
Almondine is probably up there, also.
You could try FPB, Francois Payard's new location. Not the same as the old one, sigh, though that is more about the pastries.
Disagree about the freshness of quality baguettes. If you know how to heat them, They are not so far away from fresh out of the oven. Shelf life varies but if it is same day, I challenge most to tell the difference.
Also, Sullivan St's stirato is an approximation just to add a bit more choice.
Search the boards, the info is mostly repeated. Also, all of the addresses are readily available with a 2s search instead of 20 more posts. Good luck.
182 W 58th St, New York, NY 10019
I wish I didn't feel as particular as I do about the "freshness" issue. For me, even with proper heating of the bread (in, trust me, optimal conditions), I am not satisfied. But then again, perhaps I am spoiled by the baguettes in Paris (where I rent an apartment several weeks a year and have eaten baguettes from many top-rated boulangeries).
re: Nancy S.
Perhaps you can tell the difference, perhaps you cannot. Baguettes in Paris are tons better, especially across the spectrum rather than choosing half a handful as you must do in NYC. Notice, in all the city the total number of choices singled out. That is the sad state of baking affairs.
I would say that your issue is more about the bread quality, itself, rather than the 'right out of the oven' point.