Japanese-style European patisserie in Tokyo and environs?
I am mad for the Japanese versions of European patisserie (such as are available in Fort Lee, NJ, among other places). Are there any patisseries that are simply not to be missed while there? Many thanks in advance.
I think you're referring to Parisienne on the Main St. I was just there last month! (what happened to Beard Papa?)
Parisienne's pretty good considering it's in the States. But they'd be a below-average bakery in Tokyo, in my opinion. You'll find bakeries everywhere in Tokyo. My two favorite chain bakeries in Japan are Pompadour and Vie de France. Pompadour bakes more old-school European-style stuff including baguettes and croissants that are better than most you'll find in Paris... of course, they still sell the requisite anpan and curry doughnuts and other Japanified stuff. Vie de France has a wider variety of interesting Japanified goods, both savoury and sweet (shrimp-katsu bread, melon cream pan, often 3 different kinds of curry pan), as well as a variety of sandwiches and salads.
I don't think NJ's Parisienne is particularly French-like for a Japanese bakery. I think the stuff they're along the lines of a typical Japanese bakery in terms of the type of offerings. But you'll find that bakeries in Tokyo will have better quality and more creative offerings than Parisienne. Pompadour and Donq (another bakery chain in Japan) lean a lot more European than Parisienne-NJ. Every bakery in Japan will have things like plain croissants. Even the Japanese bakery chains that I consider to be mediocre (eg, Andersen) still make better croissants than most places in the States.
For breads, I think the most acclaimed places in Tokyo may be independent bakeries which you can try to research. The worst bakeries are also independent places. Chain places are middle of the pack and are safe options. Chain bakeries like Pompadour will still blow you away if you think Parisienne is good. There's actually a Robuchon bakery now in Shibuya; I haven't been there, but you could try it.
If you're talking about cakes and desserts, then that's a slightly different matter. For that, plenty has been discussed on these forums if you do a search.
I've been to Echire in Marunouchi a couple of times. I've heard that they have very long lines, but I have not experienced any wait at all (I have gone usually late AM, weekday). They have several different Croissants (with varying high percentages of butter), which we ate in the courtyard right outside the store (I'm not sure if you're supposed to eat on the benchs, but another local couple was doing it, so we indulged). Google "Tokyo Echire" and you can find a bunch of blog entries w/ pics. Worth going if you're near Tokyo Station. The Robuchon Cafe is right there too (though I've not been there).
I would like to complement the list of one year ago (here below the link of the topics) with :
-The candy bars "ita ame" at Ameya Citaro Mitsukoshi Ginza or Shinjuku Isetan
-The sablé choux cream at Roule(roule cake is not my thing!) at Ikejiriohashi (one station from Shibuya
At the same station, you will have the bakeries TOLO and the patisserie La Terre(10mn walk).Tolo bakery (good bread made with daizu, olive oil,)..
-The "taiyaki "(fish shaped pancake stuffed with bean jam), you will have to try this one, and eat it when hot !
Japan's board chow list :
There are many. I particularly like Gontran Cherrier, as he does not only fantastic traditional French breads and pastries, but he also does Japanese influenced versions, such as kabocha muffins, curry baguettes (really good), and black squid ink breads. Viron has a couple of branches as well but only French style. I found the famous Retrodor baguette to be just ok, and my almond croissant was overlooked, but the fougasse was terrific, and the baguette used for the sandwiches superb. There's a Maison Kayser as well and the depachika have some too. Essentially, you'll be able to enjoy high quality boulangerie and patisserie in Tokyo quite easily as they're popular. And both Parisian, Belgian and other European chocolatiers are well represented - Hevin, La Maison, etc.
The basement floor of the Odakyu department store by Shinjuku station is all food, and includes several bakery/patisserie sections. There are so many patisseries in the Tokyo area that I haven't tried them all, but the ones here are my favorite.
I'm not a huge patisserie fan, but Sadaharu Aoki's exquisute creations make me swoon. His mille-feuille is divine, and the creatively flavoured macaron are addictive: I recommend the cassis, yuzu, violette, houjicha, genmaicha, matcha, sesame noir, and wasabi flavours.
He's based in Paris, but has now opened four stores in Tokyo. http://www.sadaharuaoki.com/boutique/...