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Restaurants settled! Now, need recommendations for Best French Pastry and Gourmet Food Stores!

Hello Fellow NYC Chowhounders, I'm back!!

For my upcoming short trip to your great city, thanks to all your valuable inputs, I have finalized my Michelin 'chow choices' to the following:

- Eleven Madison Park
- Gramercy Tavern
- Marea
- Momofuku Ko
- Tori Shin

Since I also have a huge sweet tooth, I intend to use some of my spare time in visiting some of the best French Pastry establishments in town. However, having lived and worked in Paris for a couple of years, I have developed quite a discerning taste for French Pastries. Does NYC has any pastry shops close to the calibre of say a Laduree, Lenotre, Fouchon or Pierre Hermes of Paris?! I would love to hear a few suggestions from fellow fraternity members!
As well, apart from Eataly, which other 'gourmet food store(s)' I should pay a 'must' visit? Citerella, Dean & Deluca ( which location?), Zabars, Russ & Daughters????

Thank you all in advance!!

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  1. NYC now has its own Laduree. I've braved the long lines twice. Totally worth it. If you like smoked fish, Zabars and Russ & Daughters are wonderful.

    BTW, glad you have two of my favorite restaurants on your list: Momofuku Ko and Eleven Madison Park.

    -----
    Russ & Daughters
    179 E Houston St, New York, NY 10002

    Zabar's
    2245 Broadway, New York, NY 10024

    Laduree
    864 Madison Ave, New York, NY 10021

    9 Replies
    1. re: ellenost

      Wow! Laduree in NYC! Great to hear!!

      Inputs from fellow chowhounder who also love German Riesling!! Can't go wrong!!!

      Thx!

      1. re: Charles Yu

        BTW, Eleven Madison Park has a fantastic selection of German Rieslings at fair prices.

        -----
        Eleven Madison Park
        11 Madison Ave., New York, NY 10010

        1. re: Charles Yu

          While you're at Laduree, might as well pop into Lady M bakery for the mille crepe cake.

          -----
          Laduree
          864 Madison Ave, New York, NY 10021

          1. re: Charles Yu

            You should note that the New York outpost of Laduree does not sell the full range of pastry as its Paris counterpart. Besides macaroons, there's only a small selection of candies, ice cream and perhaps a few other non-notable products.

            Of the shops, I would recommend Russ and Daughters and Eataly, if you are in the neighborhood of the latter. Maybe the D & D on Priince, but, again, if it's convenient.

            -----
            Russ & Daughters
            179 E Houston St, New York, NY 10002

            Eataly
            200 5th Ave, New York, NY 10010

            1. re: Nancy S.

              Agree that NYC's Laduree does not have the robust offering that any of the Paris branches has. Just setting expectations.

            2. re: Charles Yu

              Although this is an older post note that every summer the wine bar terrior (e village, murray hill and tribeca) has a "summer of reisling" promotion with more than a dozen by the glass (including a sparkling reisling!) and several pages of bottles

              1. re: Ttrockwood

                Terrior is always a riesling friendly destination, year round as well. It also helps that they carry some more obscure bottles, since Rieslings tend to be pretty economical, and it becomes difficult to order a pretty generic glass when you know what the bottle costs.

          2. Not a big fan of D&D or Citarella. Zabar's and Russ & Daughters are good. I like Chelsea Market, Despana, Union Sq Greenmarket, Kalustyan's, Murray's. For Eataly try to visit on a weekday. Mornings are best.

            For French pastry, second Laduree, but the NYC one supposedly doesn't have as good a non-macaron selection as other branches. I've never been to Paris so I can't comment.

            I do love the pastries at Mille-Feuille and have heard great things about Dominique Ansel. Unfortunately, Patisserie Claude has gone downhill since Claude left for South America.

            -----
            Russ & Daughters
            179 E Houston St, New York, NY 10002

            Murray's Cheese
            254 Bleecker St, New York, NY 10014

            Patisserie Claude
            187 W 4th St, New York, NY 10014

            Kalustyan's
            123 Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10016

            Union Square Greenmarket
            Broadway and E 17th St, New York, NY 10003

            Despana
            408 Broome St, New York, NY 10013

            Zabar's
            2245 Broadway, New York, NY 10024

            Eataly
            200 5th Ave, New York, NY 10010

            Laduree
            864 Madison Ave, New York, NY 10021

            Mille-feuille
            552 LaGuardia Pl, New York, NY 10012

            Dominique Ansel Bakery
            189 Spring St, New York, NY 10012

            2 Replies
            1. re: kathryn

              We are missing something VERY important.

              SABLES 2nd ave between 77-78th street
              Best Smoked Salmon and Lobster Salad in NYC hands down.

              Russ & daughters is great but Sables is in a class of its own.

              Sushi:
              Tamoe 172 Thompson not open on mondays.

              1. re: bombadilio

                Love the appetizing and lobster salad at Sable's--especially the sable that is much better than at Russ & Daughters. I think the gaspe is about even at both.

            2. Dominique Ansel for French pastries.

              Cafe Sabarsky for Viennese pastries.

              Despana for gourmet food from Spain.

              -----
              Despana
              408 Broome St, New York, NY 10013

              Cafe Sabarsky
              1048 5th Ave, New York, NY 10028

              Dominique Ansel Bakery
              189 Spring St, New York, NY 10012

              2 Replies
              1. re: Riverman500

                +1 Dominique Ansel Bakery. Dominique recommended both the cannele and DKA (Dominique's Kouign Amann) this past Saturday and they were wonderful! Excellent crisp, crusty exteriors with deliciously caramelized flavors, and each was perfectly custardy or buttery underneath.

                1. re: sheio

                  Haven't yet tried much from Dominique Ansel, but their chocolate cookie--boring as it may sound--is perfect.

              2. Charles, while it isn't a French pastry, I thought I'd mention Baltazar's sticky bun, which is available at Dean & Deluca. When I stay in midtown, I'll often head to the Rockefeller Centre's Dean & Deluca, which has some seating, for a coffee and a Baltazar sticky bun or a Donut Plant donut.

                Not so much a gourmet shop, as a shop with an unbelieveable assortment of spices and other imported products, I like to visit Kalustyan's whenever I visit Manhattan. I've found all sorts of products I've never seen for sale in Toronto.

                I haven't tried Cafe Sabarsky's Viennese pastries, but I have enjoyed their take on the Blackforest Cake.

                I'm hoping to try Dominique Ansel on my next trip. Love Kouign Amann. Here's an earlier thread with some photos: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/815636 http://dominiqueansel.com/

                -----
                Kalustyan's
                123 Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10016

                Cafe Sabarsky
                1048 5th Ave, New York, NY 10028

                Balthazar
                80 Spring St, New York, NY 10012

                Dean & DeLuca
                1 Rockefeller Plz, New York, NY 10020

                6 Replies
                1. re: prima

                  Hi Charles! I don't know much about French pastry shops in NY ( I tend to buy Italian-style sweets when I break down) but I can comment on the food shops in general.

                  I would try to include both Russ and Daughters and Zabars because both are institutions particular to NYC. Zabars has a very good and very well-priced kitchenware department on the floor above street level.

                  A few of the other places, such as Dean/DeLuca and Citarella, could be in any urban center which means that while they are excellent shops, they are not so unusual.

                  I concur with the advice to arrive at Eataly as close to the 10am weekday opening as possible to avoid crowds. If you area actually interested in purchasing Italian products, you should also visit DiPalo on Grand Street, another slice of old New York with fantastic service and a wide range of imports.

                  Please let us know if there are any foodstuffs that you want specifically to purchase and we will point you in the right direction.

                  -----
                  Di Palo's Fine Foods
                  200 Grand St, New York, NY 10013

                  1. re: erica

                    Hello Erica!
                    Canadian customs will not allow us to bring back any meat products, so my focus will be mainly on fish/seafood. ( reason for my planned visits to Russ & Daughters and Zabars for smoked salmon...etc). Also, I'll be keeping my eyes open for things to munch on or bring back to hotel as snacks. Some good Jamon Iberico for instance!

                    BTW, our 'Fu Sing chowfriend - Nilescable' will be organizing a huge chowmeet in Hong Kong in March!! Should be fun!!

                    1. re: Charles Yu

                      You can get jamon iberico at Despana. They will even hand slice it for you, which is the "proper" way.

                    2. re: erica

                      DiPalo is a great suggestion, and Piemonte pasta, and the market next door are worthy stops a block away.

                      Eataly is approachable at any time of the day, during the week. No reason to run there at 10am for shopping. The store is just arranged poorly, so it can get cramped, and hard to move around, but not to the extent that someone should alter their schedule.

                      -----
                      Di Palo's Fine Foods
                      200 Grand St, New York, NY 10013

                      Piemonte Ravioli
                      190 Grand St, New York, NY 10013

                      Eataly
                      200 5th Ave, New York, NY 10010

                    3. re: prima

                      Hi Prima!
                      If Dominique Ansel is better than our Rahier, then I'll be happy?!

                      1. re: prima

                        Balthazar's sticky bun is my fav piece of pastry in USA, so agree with you. My breakfast since Balthazar opened is coffee, the sticky bun, the cranberry foccacia, and a few ends of their magnificent miche. What a breakfast.

                      2. Thank You ALL for some amazing recommendations!! Now, I have to do some real planning!!
                        Who was it who said " So much to do, so little time!!! " Sigh!!!

                        Lastly, given time for only one visit, shall I go to Chelsea Market ( been, but years ago ) or Union Square Greenmarket ( never been )??!! Looking for the 'Wow' factor!!

                        29 Replies
                        1. re: Charles Yu

                          Having rolled through Paris (almost literally considering the pastry trail I made) I can say that Payard's Almond Croissant and that at Petrossian should not be missed.

                          Would also check out Bouchon (Thomas Keller) and order whatever sounds best.

                          Love Cici-Cela, though it isn't quite Paris quality it is quite good.

                          By the time you go I'll have sampled more than I should have at Dominique Ansel, Mille Feuille, and Bosie Tea Parlor.

                          Would also recommend Sweet Revenge or Three Little Red Hens for cupcakes and Momofuku Milk Bar for a slice of whatever odd pie suits your fancy.

                          http://endoedibles.com

                          -----
                          Two Little Red Hens
                          1652 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10028

                          Bouchon Bakery
                          10 Columbus Cir, New York, NY 10019

                          Ceci-Cela
                          55 Spring St, New York, NY 10012

                          Sweet Revenge
                          62 Carmine St, New York, NY 10014

                          Petrossian Boutique
                          911 7th Ave, New York, NY 10019

                          Momofuku Milk Bar
                          251 E 13th St, New York, NY 10003

                          Bosie Tea Parlor
                          10 Morton St, New York, NY 10014

                          Francois Payard Bakery
                          116 W Houston St, New York, NY 10012

                          Mille-feuille
                          552 LaGuardia Pl, New York, NY 10012

                          Dominique Ansel Bakery
                          189 Spring St, New York, NY 10012

                          1. re: uhockey

                            If I follow your footsteps, I'll get so fat, the airline might not let me on to the plane!!! Ha!! :D

                            1. re: Charles Yu

                              If you ever have met uhockey, he is built like a haricot vert

                              1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                It is all hard work - if you've ever met my genetic contributors you'd realize this.
                                Or if you saw pictures of me in college. :-)

                                I resent being compared to a funky French Green Bean, as well.

                                http://endoedibles.com

                              2. re: Charles Yu

                                At Bouchon, I like the TKO cookie, peanut butter cup, and chocolate bouchons a lot. Skip the macarons. They can be quite inconsistent and sometimes overly sweet and gummy. Really Laduree have the best in NYC right now, but Mille-Feuille and Bosie are respectable.

                                I greatly prefer Butter Lane's cupcakes lately.

                                -----
                                Bouchon Bakery
                                10 Columbus Cir, New York, NY 10019

                                Butter Lane
                                123 E 7th St, New York, NY 10009

                                Bosie Tea Parlor
                                10 Morton St, New York, NY 10014

                                Bouchon Bakery
                                1 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, NY 10112

                                Laduree
                                864 Madison Ave, New York, NY 10021

                                Mille-feuille
                                552 LaGuardia Pl, New York, NY 10012

                                1. re: kathryn

                                  Agree on the Macarons - but when you get one that is good and fresh they are as good as Laduree or Herme in Paris. I'd suggest getting one - a unique flavor - and deciding from there whether to invest in more.

                                  The cupcakes at Bouchon are limited, but fantastic - and yeah, the TKO is something else.

                                  Since you're going in April, if they have it, consider the hot cross buns.

                                  http://endoedibles.com

                                  1. re: uhockey

                                    I have found the opposite--the specialty flavor was bad, the normal one was passable. Maybe because the seasonal flavors change so often.

                                    You really need to try the peanut butter cup at Bouchon of you haven't already, uhockey.

                                    1. re: kathryn

                                      Had it in Vegas. Ridiculously decadent. I'm not a big "candy" person - more pastries - but it is quite good. The Peppermint Patty, as well.

                                      http://endoedibles.com

                                  2. re: kathryn

                                    I love the oatmeal raisin cookie at Bouchon too, it's likely the most perfect oatmeal raisin cookie I've ever had.

                                    1. re: kathryn

                                      The TKO cookie's great. Thanks for the tip!

                                    2. re: Charles Yu

                                      re: the pies at Milk Bar. The first time I tried the candy bar pie I was wowed. I liked the crack pie enough, but it sort of struck me as a sugar pie/buttertart/fudge hybrid, and wasn't anything new taste-wise to me. The second time I tried the candy bar pie and crack pie, I found both way too sweet, and ho-hum. Worth trying at least once, but if you've got limited time in Manhattan, I wouldn't spend the calories on it while I'm in Manhattan. They do have slices in cardboard containers, if you wanted to pick up a slice or 2, and bring them back to Canada to eat later. They're more of a confection than a pastry, so a day-old or 3 day-old slice will probably taste about the same as a fresh slice.

                                      -----
                                      Momofuku Milk Bar
                                      15 W 56th St, New York, NY 10019

                                      1. re: prima

                                        Those two pies are definitely for sugar fiends. There's less sugar in the cinnamon bun pie, as well as the corn, blueberry, and chocolate cookies. The cornflake and compost cookies are also very very sweet, as well as the soft serves. She tends to put a ton of sugar in things--almost to an extreme. Milk Bar is more like an experimental lab for sugar obsessives.

                                        1. re: kathryn

                                          Love the blueberry cookies, but I actually found them to be sweeter than the compost. Still my favorite there, though. Then again, I'm a big fan of the cereal milk soft serve, so perhaps I'm one of these sugar obsessives.

                                    3. re: uhockey

                                      Sorry to nitpick, but I've seen you misspell Ceci-Cela a bunch of times and thought you'd like to know the right spelling, since the content of your posts is always so good. Ceci means "this one" and cela means "that one," so the name of the store is "This and That."

                                    4. re: Charles Yu

                                      Chelsea Market is indoors and will lots more variety--there's many more stores and food vendors now, selling food/snacks. You can have a meal there at one of the restaurants, too. Check out their site for a list d vendors. It's gotten pretty big. You'd probably be able to find more non-perishables to bring back home.

                                      Union Square Greenmarket is at its best on Saturdays in the spring/summer. To me it is all about the produce and to a lesser extent the meat/egg/dairy items. I'm not sure when your trip is, but while you might find a stroll interesting, there are fewer items you could take back with you. Maybe some local wines, grains, honey, jams, wool. It is a great farmers market, not a collection of different stores like Chelsea Market is.

                                      1. re: kathryn

                                        Hi again, Charles! Agree with Kathryn. The Greenmarket is but a shadow of its former self these days, with the offerings limited to meats, chicken and eggs, baked goods, very expensive salad greens, etc etc. Increasingly difficult to find even cold weather veg like kale. But of course in addition to the items mentioned by Kathryn, there are plenty of potatoes and cabbage! So whether or not you should visit depends on the timing of your visit. Before April the Chelsea Market is your best bet.

                                        I wish I could return to HK for the Chowmeet! Keep us posted on your plans here!

                                        1. re: erica

                                          Ceci Cela is the best I have had. Laurent is very talented.
                                          http://www.cecicelanyc.com/ourcompany...

                                          -----
                                          Ceci-Cela
                                          55 Spring St, New York, NY 10012

                                          1. re: foodwhisperer

                                            Have you tried Mille-Feuille or Dominique Ansel yet?

                                            1. re: kathryn

                                              I ve tried a lot of Mille Feuille, but never at Dominique Ansel. I will do that soon

                                          2. re: erica

                                            Having lived in Paris for two years and wowed by their open air markets, guess I'll pass on the Greenmarket and focus on Chelsea Market instead. BTW, my trip will be mid-April.

                                            1. re: Charles Yu

                                              Might even be able to stop by and walkthrough Greenmarket before/after Gramercy or EMP. By April, some of the produce should be interesting to check out.

                                              1. re: villainx

                                                Good idea!! Might be changing my mind and replace Gramercy with Modern per uhockey suggestion. Still deciding??!!

                                                1. re: Charles Yu

                                                  I think it'd be a wonderful idea to switch to The Modern.

                                                  -----
                                                  The Modern
                                                  9 West 53rd Street, New York, NY 10019

                                                  1. re: Cheeryvisage

                                                    Kreuther is simply brilliant and while some complain about how loud the room is I didn't find Gramercy to be any more quiet. Nor Marea.

                                                    http://endoedibles.com

                                                    1. re: uhockey

                                                      I'm immune to 'noise pollution' if there are great tasting food in front of me!!

                                                  2. re: Charles Yu

                                                    You might want to check out Tocqueville ( One East 15th St). Walking distance from Gramercy. Fantabulous meal/service w 3 course prix fixe lunch for $25.00.Of course,we ended up paying much more, with drinks etc.
                                                    Also if you have difficulty getting reservation at Momofuku, another recent hot spot by a young and very talented korean chef, Jungsik Yim. His restaurant: JungSik, 2 Harrison St. One of the best belly pork dish created!

                                                    -----
                                                    Tocqueville
                                                    1 East 15th Street, New York, NY 10003

                                                    Jung Sik
                                                    2 Harrison St, New York, NY 10013

                                                2. re: Charles Yu

                                                  Keep an eye on the weather. So far the winter has been unusually mild. Some producers have begun returning to the market early -- mid-April 2012 may be more fruitful than in previous years.

                                                  Check out the following link before you leave for NYC to get a better sense of the goods being offered.

                                                  Who's IN today at NYC's Union Square Greenmarket?
                                                  http://www.grownyc.org/files/gmkt/uns...

                                                  -----
                                                  Union Square Greenmarket
                                                  Broadway and E 17th St, New York, NY 10003

                                          3. Trying to think what might not be readily accessible up north, so I'll agree that Kalustyan's might be worth a stop (close to Gramercy and EMP). I'm thinking the Indian scene, or the south east, vegetarian leaning Indian scene might not be as strongly represented. So check out the store, and if you are still hungry, maybe get a dose and chai at Saravana?

                                            Unless you hit the boroughs, which has slightly better Indian fare.

                                            3 Replies
                                            1. re: villainx

                                              We have a couple Saravana locations in the burbs of Toronto ;-) But I've only visited the one on Lexington! Neat breakfast combos ;-)

                                              What TO doesn't have right now is a good upscale Indian restaurant. I had Devi, Tulsi and Junoon on my wishlist a while back.

                                              -----
                                              Devi
                                              8 East 18th Street, New York, NY 10003

                                              Tulsi
                                              211 E 46th St, New York, NY 10017

                                              Junoon
                                              27 W 24th St, New York, NY 10010

                                              1. re: prima

                                                Totally agree with you about the upscale Indian scene in TO considering the relatively huge population of South Asians. However, with limited time and having lived in London for over a decade and spoiled by their wonderful offerings, I think I'll pass on Indian and focus on Western Michelin*.instead.

                                                1. re: Charles Yu

                                                  Oh, in that case, definitely not a priority. Whenever I'm in Toronto I'm hitting up the Chinese places, and whichever Torontonian place gets good buzz on the board.

                                            2. Mille-Feuille and Dominique Ansel are the only two passable places for French pastries right now, and neither seem to have that rich buttery interior needed to rival the best.

                                              La Bergamote is good for certain items.

                                              Payard, Balthazar, and Ceci Celi are no longer in the same league. They all used to be much, much better. A visit to Sullivan Street Bakery or Grandaisy would be a better idea if you're interested in going beyond French style baked goods.

                                              -----
                                              Sullivan Street Bakery
                                              533 W 47th St, New York, NY 10036

                                              Ceci-Cela
                                              55 Spring St, New York, NY 10012

                                              Balthazar
                                              80 Spring St, New York, NY 10012

                                              Grandaisy Bakery
                                              73 Sullivan St, New York, NY 10012

                                              La Bergamote
                                              169 9th Ave, New York, NY 10011

                                              Francois Payard Bakery
                                              116 W Houston St, New York, NY 10012

                                              Mille-feuille
                                              552 LaGuardia Pl, New York, NY 10012

                                              Dominique Ansel Bakery
                                              189 Spring St, New York, NY 10012

                                              5 Replies
                                              1. re: sugartoof

                                                What do you recommend the most at Sullivan Street Bakery and Grandaisy, sugartoof? I might have to try one of the bombolini at SSB.
                                                http://www.sullivanstreetbakery.com/home

                                                http://www.grandaisybakery.com/

                                                Are there any other bakeries worth seeking out in Chelsea/Hell's Kitchen/ West 40s ? I realize Poseidon is on 9th.

                                                1. re: prima

                                                  Poseidon is really worth stopping into.

                                                  Sullivan Street Bakery is mostly known for it's Bianca pizze, and rustic breads. Biscotti are good. I haven't had the bombolini but

                                                  Grandaisy has more pastry type items, and sweets. The fruit tarts, frangiapane are good. Sometimes the selection is limited.

                                                  Amy's Bread is also on 9th, and some of their rustic breads are good, plus a full selection of baked goods. I like the cookies, and the squares are interesting.

                                                  I wouldn't worry about having a specific item in mind for any of these three, just grab whatever looks good.

                                                  Bien Cuit (west village), Medeleine Pattiserie (great pastries in Chelsea) should be on your list.

                                                  1. re: sugartoof

                                                    Thanks, sugartoof!

                                                    Besides the sticky bun, TKO cookie, oatmeal raisin cookie, pb cup and choc bouchon, which pastries would Chowhounds recommend the most at Bouchon Bakery?

                                                      1. re: uhockey

                                                        Thanks, uhockey! I saw the Oh Oh, but I was looking for something to take home, and I wasn't sure how perishable the filling might be. I'll try it on my next visit.

                                              2. For croissants and French pastries you must try Ceci Cela!! Sit in back and you'll feel like you are in a little hole in the wall French cafe.

                                                -----
                                                Ceci-Cela
                                                55 Spring St, New York, NY 10012

                                                1. Charles, have you taken your trip? Hope you post a report!

                                                  1. "Does NYC has any pastry shops close to the calibre of say a Laduree, Lenotre, Fouchon or Pierre Hermes of Paris?"

                                                    No, Charles, NYC does not. Ten years ago, there were a couple of high-quality pastry shops/cafes (Fauchon and Payard's on the Upper East Side), but today there's nothing that comes anywhere close to the quality and breadth of options available in Paris. You'll do well to temper your level of expectations as far as pastries go. Paris is really in a league of its own in the world. I think only Tokyo begins to approach what's available in Paris.

                                                    That said, you might want to consider these:

                                                    Financier Patisserie (various locations -- 35 Cedar St usually has a decent selection, although other branches may be more conveniently located )

                                                    Petrossian Boutique & Cafe -- 911 7th Ave (between 57th & 58th St)

                                                    François (Payard) Chocolate Bar -- 1 W 58th St (different selection than the Payard Bakery shop on Houston St)

                                                    Dominique Ansel Bakery -- 189 Spring St -- I haven't been to Ansel's Bakery yet, but it looks promising from the photos

                                                    11 Replies
                                                    1. re: racer x

                                                      Ansel was excellent , was there with uhockey about a month ago and together we sampled about 2/3 of their offerings. Some adequate, some way better than that.

                                                      1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                                        uhockey was mentioning that to me during our Toronto Dim Sum chowmeet last Saturday!! Told me its a must visit if I'm into dessert. Doubt I'll buy $70 worth though!! Ha!!

                                                        1. re: Charles Yu

                                                          I made it to Ansel's yesterday. It IS indeed worth a visit.
                                                          Photo below. The pistachio religieuse was particularly tasty.

                                                          I would also urge you to visit Lady M's cake shop on the Upper East Side, if you like cakes. Perhaps not strictly French, but very good nonetheless. I tried the mille crepe and the mimosa cakes today -- not to be missed.

                                                           
                                                          1. re: Charles Yu

                                                            And of course, there's newly opened Brasserie Pushkin. It's a Russian restaurant from Moscow, but their desserts and takeout pastries are mostly French. I think Pushkin's savory dishes are just plain, but their patries are really sophisticated and phenomenal (and they are really pricy too).

                                                             
                                                             
                                                             
                                                            1. re: kosmose7

                                                              Pushkin's current menu on the website shows about a half-dozen mousse or cake-type desserts, each for $16.

                                                              Does their take-away pastry counter have a wider selection, or is that it?

                                                              1. re: racer x

                                                                Oh, there are far more selections for takeout. At least more than 15 to 20 choices, each costing $8 to $12. I bought eight cakes and it cost me about $100. Each one of them was truly amazing.

                                                                1. re: kosmose7

                                                                  Sounds like a great find!
                                                                  Do you know - is the takeout counter open during lunch hours?

                                                                  1. re: racer x

                                                                    The pastry shop is open until 6:00PM or 6:30PM (can't remember the exact time), and after that it changes to a caviar bar at night. I heard from other source that they get caviar supply from Caviar Russe.

                                                              2. re: kosmose7

                                                                What's the dessert in the right-hand photo?

                                                                1. re: Pan

                                                                  That's a dining room dessert, 'Hazelnut Meringue Dome'.
                                                                  Inside the dome are cinnamon ice cream and caramel & apple coulis.

                                                                  .

                                                                  1. re: kosmose7

                                                                    Indeed, just tried 4 desserts at Pushkin and the Hazelnut Dome was killer. Go early in the day for the best experience of the pastries from the case.

                                                        2. If you want an experience a little different you could also try Italian pastries (Veniero's on E. 11th St) or Ferrara's in Little Italy. We sometimes even venture out to Astoria to try Greek desserts (Omonia pastry shop) in Astoria (Long Island City) Queens. You can get nice baklava, and other lesser known Greek pastries. They have coffees and it's a pleasant neighborhood to look around. Bon Appetit!

                                                          1. We recently returned from a week in Paris where we did our daily morning croissant tour. The verdict: It is hard to find a bad croissant at a bakery in Paris. The best croissant was at "ble sucre" but that may be because the croissant had just come out of the oven. It was heavenly!!!
                                                            In Manhattan we recently discovered Eric Kayser on the UES. The croissants at breakfast are fantastic. I see they are opening another shop near Bryant Park.
                                                            Otherwise Ceci-cela is one of out all time favorites.

                                                            3 Replies
                                                            1. re: Motosport

                                                              Maison Kayser on the UES is fairly new--which is why it's not mentioned on this thread. Only opened in late summer.

                                                              1. re: kathryn

                                                                That explains it!! We went to JG Melon for lunch last month and noticed it across the street.
                                                                Oddly enough, there is another French Patisserie next to JG Melon that does not open until 9 AM. Unusual late opening time for a bakery and for us.

                                                              2. re: Motosport

                                                                Oddly enough Payard is across the street from Kayser but they do not open early on Sunday. Odd?
                                                                Our third Sunday in a row @ Maison Kayser. Excellent croissants and perfectly made soft boiled eggs.

                                                              3. I live in Montreal so we have our fair share of croissants and pastries. My last Parisian croissant was in 2010. Not everything is the best but it does taint the level of like/dislike.

                                                                In a recent trip to NYC (Sep'12) I tried some places recommended by people and here are my choices.

                                                                Dominique Ansel - good for overall french pastries with novelties like the Kouign-Amann and piped to order madeleines which are my favorites. The K-A is not the same confection as the one in Montreal but I don't know which one is more "right". The cannele is only average compared to what I can get in Montreal. I didn't enjoy the croissant.

                                                                Francois Payard Bakery - it's not far from Dominique Ansel so you can walk and eat at both. This has the best croissant for me in North America. I brought back 2 dozens on the night bus to Montreal and it was still good the following week. The patisseries are very decent but I remember the UES location was better.

                                                                I got a box of 24 of macarons from Laduree and they were as good as the last box I got in 2010.

                                                                I tried a croissant and a cheese roll from Eric Kayser and didn't like either. I didn't finish them.

                                                                Momofuku Milk Bar: I brought back a whole crack pie in 3 plastic boxes and it fed me for 3 months in the fridge.

                                                                Two little red hens remains my favorite place for cupcakes and cakes.

                                                                Next time you're in Montreal do visit Olivier Potier for french pastries.

                                                                23 Replies
                                                                1. re: marblebag

                                                                  What was it about the Payard croissant you liked so much?

                                                                  1. re: sugartoof

                                                                    I like the Payard croissant because it has the most butter on this side of the Atlantic. There's a pastry shop here called Fous Desserts that serves my favorite croissant in Montreal for the same reason. If you put a bunch of them in a wax paper bag, by the end of the day the bag is transparent...

                                                                    The Payard croissant is a lot more flaky than the Montreal one and that's why I like it more.

                                                                    I have not been to the other bakeries listed in this thread but when I see a place in NYC I always buy 2 croissants to try.

                                                                    1. re: marblebag

                                                                      "I have not been to the other bakeries listed in this thread "

                                                                      Ah. Makes more sense. If you are looking for flakey and butter heavy, I personally don't think Payard is currently wining in those categories.

                                                                      The very best I've had in NY have been from Almondine's (Brooklyn and temp closed), Dominique Ansel, and at times Madeleine Bakery.

                                                                      1. re: sugartoof

                                                                        I did not enjoy Ansel's croissant. It felt dense.

                                                                        Here is a picture of Fous Desserts' croissants. Note the color and texture. Unfortunately this store and Patisserie Rhubarbe are only a short walk away from my home.

                                                                         
                                                                        1. re: marblebag

                                                                          Those look really good. Nothing like Payard's, unfortunately.
                                                                          Of course, we're just talking about outward appearance and hoping it translates to the good kind of flakey.

                                                                  2. re: marblebag

                                                                    Do you mind sharing your outlet in Montreal for Cannele?
                                                                    There is hardly any to be found,besides Nadege, in Toronto.
                                                                    Those in D-B ,New York have, so far been the best, outside France and Singapore.

                                                                    1. re: towkay

                                                                      We have many stores here that sells cannele but my favorite is not what my friends consider to be the best. It comes from an ice cream store (Kem CoBa) that sells baked goods in the spring.

                                                                      Mamie Clafoutis and 3M Patisserie have good canneles.

                                                                      1. re: marblebag

                                                                        Merci! Will check it out on next trip to Montreal.

                                                                    2. re: marblebag

                                                                      The K-A in in Montreal is closer to the K-A found in Brittany.
                                                                      The closest I've found to traditional Brittany-style K-A would be the K-A that's served as a dessert at La Porte in Mtl, followed by the K-A at Kouign Amann bakery in Mtl. The DKA I ordered yesterday in NYC had less caramelization, and was less flaky than the K-As I've had in Mtl and Brittany. It's still a nice pastry, but it wasn't as rich or as decadent as what I've enjoyed in France, and it almost looked like a Kouign Amann in the shape of a Popover.

                                                                      The K-A sold in Brittany is my favourite French pastry, ever.

                                                                      Which canneles do you recommend in Mtl?

                                                                      1. re: marblebag

                                                                        The Payard Almond croissant is also quite impressive - truly beautiful, but imo not the 'best' in America - though close.

                                                                        Potier is putting out some damned fine pastry.

                                                                        http://endoedibles.com

                                                                        1. re: uhockey

                                                                          I'm still hooked on the almond croissant from Ceci Cela

                                                                          1. re: uhockey

                                                                            Far from best in North America, it's not even the best in the neighborhood, but it's true, the Almond is better than the Butter croissant at Payard.

                                                                            I had a plain croissant there this week that tasted more like a biscuit. I wished I had gone a few blocks over for Ansel or Mille.

                                                                            1. re: sugartoof

                                                                              I'd sooner eat Wonder Bread than visit Mille Feuille again. What a disaster that place is.

                                                                              http://endoedibles.com

                                                                              1. re: uhockey

                                                                                I'm completely puzzled by that sentiment.

                                                                                Every croissant I've had there was perfectly layered, flakey, and full of butter. Very similar to Ansel (just smaller), and the complete opposite of what Payard currently turns out.

                                                                                  1. re: kathryn

                                                                                    You're more efficient than google, Kathryn. :-)

                                                                                    http://endoedibles.com

                                                                                    1. re: uhockey

                                                                                      The Wonder Bread preference reads as even less justified now, but I'm of the belief an almond croissant's filling shouldn't be dried out either.

                                                                                      As far as service goes, it's more of a takeout place.

                                                                                      1. re: sugartoof

                                                                                        Wonderbread reference = I'd rather pay 0.99 for something terrible than a few dollars.

                                                                                        And...if take out means the employees hate your guts and make fun of you, I'll take out from elsewhere.

                                                                                        I defy you to look at that "signature" pastry and call it well done.

                                                                                        http://endoedibles.com

                                                                                        1. re: uhockey

                                                                                          Weren't we discussing the croissants? I haven't tried the Mille Feuille, but there are other reviews suggesting it's not their best item, nor are the macarons....but it's still questionable to go from using the Wonder Bread tag as an insult to now actually comparing the value/quality itself. My Payard croissant from the other day actually did remind me of Poppin Fresh Dough made into a croissant, but I wouldn't argue the two were interchangeable in value.

                                                                                          And frankly, Mille employs college aged help at the front counter who I've found to be incredibly sweet but it seems there's a high turnover rate. Why would I think or care if they hated my guts? It's a shame you had an experience that turned you off from the place, or that you don't like a heavy almond paste in your almond croissant... but next time I'd suggest going for the butter croissant, not too early in the day, and taking it to go, since there isn't much seating anyway. Its possible the place is taking a nose dive, but it normally compares very favorable to Ansel's.

                                                                                          1. re: sugartoof

                                                                                            I agree. Mille Feuille's millefeuille was somewhat disappointing. No flavors and not silky, soft enough. But their plain butter croissant was much better than their pastries.

                                                                                            I am a big fan of French pastries and alas.... There aren't that many impressive French patisseries left in New York nowadays. Some places I regularly go to include Bosie Tea Parlor, Dominique Ansel, and the recently reopened Francois Payard pastry shop. These are fine, but not really mind-blowing. Bosie Tea Parlor's pastries, while good, are not refined or sophisticated enough I should say, Ansel's pastries... While I believe Dominique is capable of doing a better job, I think he has adjusted down the quality level in order to meet the moderate prices. Nevertheless, it is still one of better patisseries in NY. FP is good, but a bit boring for me because its overseas branches are found in my country.

                                                                                            Although there are limited choices, I sometimes go to Petrossian Cafe for tarts that are at least better than many other places in NY, or Michel Cluizel for eclairs that are OK good but good enough to be called 'eclairs'.

                                                                                            I used to adore Brasserie Pushkin's pastries, which IMHO were in the same league as those at Pierre Herme, but now that place is 'temporarily closed for renovation'. I hope its pastry section comes back....

                                                                                            1. re: kosmose7

                                                                                              "I am a big fan of French pastries and alas.... There aren't that many impressive French patisseries left in New York nowadays."

                                                                                              +1 here.

                                                                                              "Tea Parlor, Dominique Ansel, and the recently reopened Francois Payard pastry shop. These are fine, but not really mind-blowing."

                                                                                              Another +1 here.