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Astor Bakery

dreilly1616 Jan 24, 2014 09:51 AM

Last night on the way home from work my husband stopped at Astor Bakery for two pieces of cake . It was our winter comfort food. The chocolate piece was for me, hmm. What a sweetheart ! Unfortunately it was stale. Such a disappointment for a cold winter's night. His cheesecake was like eating cotton.

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    Stuartmc910 RE: dreilly1616 Jan 24, 2014 10:00 AM

    I've tried their pastries two times and both times was disappointed. After the first time I never should have gone back, but thought I'd give them a second chance as the first time was right after they opened. Big mistake.

    9 Replies
    1. re: Stuartmc910
      Pookipichu RE: Stuartmc910 Jan 24, 2014 11:57 AM

      I have to say that I was disappointed as well. It's a shame because a lot of Astoria restaurants and bakeries seem to be trying to move more upscale or aspire to be great but are missing the mark in execution. Canelle is a much better bakery because it seems to be more focused on substance where as Astor Bakery focuses on having a facade of a good bakery.

      1. re: Stuartmc910
        versicle RE: Stuartmc910 Jan 27, 2014 01:53 PM

        To clarify, we're talking about Astor Bake Shop on Astoria Blvd.?

        I've had a lot of pastries there over the years--all breakfast pastries like croissants, muffins and scones. I'd say about 3/4 of the time these are great. Sometimes they're stale, like they've put out yesterday's fare. I've never tried the desserts.

        The real problem for me is that the staff there is untrained and inexperienced, and the place generally is not sure whether it's a cafe or a sit-down restaurant. I've had a couple of lunches there and service is very, very slow even in an empty room. I've also gone there in the morning wanting to eat a muffin and drink a cup of coffee at a table. They insist that you have table service for that, instead of ordering at the counter, and it takes much longer to get someone to come take the order, go get it, bring it back, get the check, pay, get change, etc. than if you'd just been allowed to get it yourself.

        Their coffee has also gone way downhill. When they opened, they served a nice robust brew from a local roaster and you could even buy beans there. Now the coffee is so weak that one time I had to check that the liquid in my cup was even coffee-colored.

        It's a lovely, light-filled space and I like the croissants enough to keep going back, but I always wish it was a little better and a little better managed.

        1. re: versicle
          Pookipichu RE: versicle Jan 27, 2014 02:14 PM

          I agree with Stuartmc nothing at Astor Bake shop impresses me. It's like a prettier version of Martha's Country Bakery. I found everything generic and lacking in quality and execution.

          1. re: Pookipichu
            versicle RE: Pookipichu Jan 28, 2014 01:20 PM

            I definitely don't think their croissants compare to anything at a really good bakery in Manhattan, but they're the best thing going within a ten-minute walk of my apartment on a weekend morning. If anyone can suggest something better on that side of Astoria, I'm all ears.

            I doubt they get a very high turnover on the desserts....

            1. re: versicle
              Pookipichu RE: versicle Jan 28, 2014 01:30 PM

              Sadly no, the best bakery I've found in Astoria is Artopolis and the closest they have to a croissant is baclava. However, if you can make a trek to Jackson Heights, Canelle is the best French bakery in Queens by a country mile.

              1. re: Pookipichu
                Yaxpac RE: Pookipichu Jan 28, 2014 02:05 PM

                the croissants at Astor Bake shop are purchased parbaked and then finished there. I think they are the best thing the place has to offer...which kinda stinks if you ask me since they don't really make them there.

                I like Artopolis for cakes and such but for breads and pastries I think that Leli is the best in Astoria by far.

                1. re: Pookipichu
                  versicle RE: Pookipichu Jan 30, 2014 09:50 AM

                  Well, Canelle is close enough to the Jackson Heights greenmarket, so maybe that will become part of the Sunday morning routine. Artopolis is great--I'm a sucker for their melomakarona--but they don't have much on the breakfast pastry front, which is what I'm usually looking for.

                  We've gotten decent baguettes at Leli, but haven't tried much else. Yaxpac, what do you like there?

                  1. re: versicle
                    Pookipichu RE: versicle Jan 30, 2014 10:49 AM

                    Cannelle is actually best for morning because they run out of things in the afternoon. Their baguettes and breads are excellent!

                    Melomakarona is my favorite pastry at Artopolis as well, they do it just like homemade (a good thing)

                    I'm not a fan of Leli but I haven't given it many chances :)

                    1. re: versicle
                      Yaxpac RE: versicle Jan 30, 2014 02:32 PM

                      They make some sort of round loaf that are connected to each other. It has a great crust and nice chewy dough. I think it is just a plain white loaf with a french name. I also like their rolls. Some are better then others but the brioche rolls are good.

                      they also make a doughssant in a few different flavors that are okay but that is not my thing.

                      I like their savory meat pies and their mini beef/mushy peas pocket.

                      In the summer they seem to offer different things too. They had a good egg skillet that was a nice breakfast at a reasonable price. I haven't been there in a while so it is hard to recall what else.

                      I do agree with Canelle. I like their breads but not their sweets.

                      Unfortunately, i am allergic to nuts so many of the Artopolis items are a no go for me...

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