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THE BEST: Pastries in New York


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#31 Pan

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Posted 10 January 2004 - 01:16 PM

I'm glad to hear someone else likes at least some of the tarts at Le Pain Quotidien. I was a bit reluctant to offer an opinion, but they did remind me of things I'd get from an ordinary good boulangerie/patisserie in Paris. Of course, for those who find the whole concept of an "ordinary good" boulangerie/patisserie or any other type of "ordinary good" anything to be nonsense, I wouldn't make any headway, and it's clear to me that VivreManger comes at this from a high level of critical appraisal.

#32 mjc

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Posted 10 January 2004 - 01:48 PM

Croissants seem to have gone downhill in NY again. There was a time when I found the croissants at Ceci-Cela on Spring Street, superior to even good croissants in France. They have slid considerably since. The ones at Pain Quotidien down in Grand Street, although almost twice the price, have been much better, but they have begun to suffer from great inconsistency. The least hint of humidity in the air and the crispness plummets. I'm not sure if they come from a central oven or not. The Grand Street location was a commerical bakery before Pain Quotidien moved in, yet I have the impression, the croissants are delivered to the shop. On the other hand, I've been told their bread seems better than at some other branches.

I think that the best croissant that you can find in NYC is in Brooklyn at Jacques Torres shop. His pan chocolate is especially notable.

Edited by mjc, 10 January 2004 - 01:49 PM.

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#33 VivreManger

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Posted 10 January 2004 - 03:21 PM

As promised, here is the last part of my pastry report, this on Ceci-Cela Pâtisserie 55 Spring St Bet. Lafayette/Mulberry (212) 274-9179

My original itinerary had not included Ceci Cela. From 2nd Avenue I had been planning to take the F train to Lafayette and change to the Lexington Ave. line Uptown to get to Payard. However I discovered that you can't get there from here. I would have to get out, add a fare and cross to the Uptown entrance. Rather than waste my two bucks on Lafayette St. I decided to go down one stop to Spring on the 6 train and check out the Spring St. Ceci Cela which is right next to the station entrance. I was very glad I did.

Ceci Cela is what I would call, to paraphrase Pan, a very good ordinary patisserie -- it is a concept I do accept. I simply don't consider the tartes sampled from Pain Quotidien to have reached that level. CC is the kind of reliable unpretentious purveyor that you can usually find in a Paris neighborhood. Not everything is great, but the standard is high and the price-quality ratio is good. The pastries are a little more than half the price of the uptown shops and the size is almost as large. Everything looked good. Of what I tried -- raspberry with brandied cherries, apple, creme brulee, and cherry flan -- the raspberry cherry tart was the best, the apple the least successful. I also bought some eclairs and a strawberry tarte, but I gave those away without a taste. The pastry dough is neither too hard or thick -- like that in Pain Quotidien and Payard -- nor too soft with the risk of sogginess -- like that of Petrossian. Instead it is of the typical classic French style. The strawberry tart had a rich eggy custard. The raspberry-cherry had a layer of nuts as well.

I also very much preferred the atmosphere to any of the other places, narrow and tight as it was. Locals were coming in and out, to be greeted with a familiar word of welcome. But a stranger was also quickly made welcome as well. The Frenchman -- owner, employee?? -- who was running the counter had an easy friendly manner. Although the quality is not as high as the Bontè of yesteryear, the atmosphere was similar.

Ceci Cela does not have the precious pretentious quality of the mid-town and uptown patisserie, nor the corporate multi-outlet enforced good behavior of the multi-branch Le Pain Quotidien -- 6 in Manhattan and 3 in LA. I believe CC has two branches downtown and I can well understand the preference for this branch. The other, which I happened to drive by a day earlier, is much less intime.

By the way I did not try the croissant or brioche. In general, the best croissant I have had over the last year or so, between sampling in Paris, Montreal, and New York, has to be at Duc de Lorraine in Montreal.

#34 Pan

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Posted 10 January 2004 - 04:26 PM

Thanks for that great report. I have to try this place now, as it's really not that far from where I live.

#35 Bux

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Posted 10 January 2004 - 04:52 PM

Croissants are a special item. I think Ceci-Cela has maintained a very high standard with most of their fruit tarts. Their lemon tarte is good too, although I haven't had that in quite a while.
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#36 SethG

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Posted 14 January 2004 - 08:45 PM

I have been meaning to stop in Torres' shop on my way in to work one of these days, but I've been too busy to check it out yet. Soon I will make a report. I may not have a worldly croissant palate, but I'll at least have a strong short-term memory of the local options.

In the meantime, while Torres awaits, I've been visiting Ceci Cela daily. I found their croissants to be very good on my first visit, and in each subsequent daily test, I have rated them as about the same. But I will continue to visit and to check the quality of the croissants, in an effort to confirm Bux's contention that the product is in decline. The first time I notice any slippage, I will inform the membership. I will consider it my duty to keep eating these croissants until something changes.

This morning I couldn't help myself; I also got the almond brioche. Very nice.
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#37 JosephB

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Posted 14 January 2004 - 09:01 PM

I've been visiting Ceci Cela daily.

I work a few blocks away, and I know it's there, but I've managed to stay away. I even resist after a visit to my wine guy at Chamber Street Wines, which is just a few doors away. That's it; I will succumb on Friday morning.

#38 mags

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Posted 14 January 2004 - 09:41 PM

Hey, I'm just thinking, what about St. Ambroseus, now in the W. Village? Or Tartine? And is Patisserie Lancianni still in the East Village? They used to make a swell hazelnut-mocha cake, and great key-lime pie.

#39 herbacidal

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Posted 14 January 2004 - 09:53 PM

Ceci Cela is what I would call, to paraphrase Pan, a very good ordinary patisserie -- it is a concept I do accept. I simply don't consider the tartes sampled from Pain Quotidien to have reached that level. CC is the kind of reliable unpretentious purveyor that you can usually find in a Paris neighborhood. Not everything is great, but the standard is high and the price-quality ratio is good.

Most definitely true.

Jeune...paris took me there, and they are very much a neighborhood place.

And the croissant is very good quality, as it should be.
Not orgasmic or earth shattering by any means.
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#40 Pan

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Posted 14 January 2004 - 10:51 PM

And is Patisserie Lancianni still in the East Village? They used to make a swell hazelnut-mocha cake, and great key-lime pie.

I've never heard of the place. Where was it?

#41 jeff29992001

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Posted 16 January 2004 - 03:56 AM

And is Patisserie Lancianni still in the East Village?  They used to make a swell hazelnut-mocha cake, and great key-lime pie.

I've never heard of the place. Where was it?

lancini in meatpacking located at 14th st, off 9th. (directly across the street from little pie company)

haven't tried their stuff.


ok, after asking once, and asking once again, with obviosuly no answer---i guess nobody had tried this place before---I went, and tried the pastries at Groupil and Decarlo in the Chelsea Market, and I like it very much. They make and sell danishes, tarts, mousse, and croissants. They also had cakes but you need to order them in advance.

Tried a lemon tart---they had a full variety of beautifully made tarts, including mixed fruit, blueberry, strawberry raspberry, apricot, etc---and one of the small indv. mousse cakes. The lemon tart, more a curd, featured a well-balanced lemon flavor that could've been a touch sharper. The texture was a bit dense and pasty, but thumbs up overall.

I also tried a mini-mouse cake that was beautifully assembled. The mouse had a well-balanced flavor (the coulis on top of the mousse could be a touch sharper in flavor though) and a whimsical polka dot cake design around the base.

#42 marthapook

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Posted 24 January 2004 - 06:40 AM

lancini in meatpacking located at 14th st, off 9th.

not there any more - closed for at least 6 months or so :angry:

#43 menton1

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Posted 18 September 2004 - 05:46 PM

Fauchon (56th and Park ave.), and Petrossian (58thst. and 7th ave.) are my current favorites.

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What happened to the Fauchon on 3rd Avenue and 78th? It seems to have disappeared practically overnight... Or do I have the wrong street?

#44 emsny

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Posted 19 September 2004 - 09:00 AM

No, you have the right street. Both Fauchons in the 70s were closed, pretty much simultaneously - Madison and Third. Amusingly (to me), the previous tenant of the Madison Avenue site (St. Ambroeus) is returning.

#45 Mssmltzr

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Posted 06 June 2005 - 09:58 AM

Hey everybody,

I will be staying in Manhattan for the next month on a work assignment. I would like to hit up as many bakeries/patisseries as possible while I am there. However, I don't want to waste my time or money on places that just aren't that remarkable. I’m living around 90th Street…so any place I can get to on foot or by subway.

Thanks for the recommendations! I plan to make web journal with pictures of all the places I visit—so keep a look out!

MSS

#46 scordelia

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Posted 06 June 2005 - 10:12 AM

When I go to NY, I like to hit Little Italy for pastry. There are quite a few good places. Chinatown is also right there and you are near the lower east side so you can have quite the cross-cultural experience.
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#47 R Washburn

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Posted 06 June 2005 - 10:47 AM

Petrossian and Fauchon if you are interested in high end French pastry. I would classify them as remarkable.

Are you going to be on the East or West side?

#48 David McDuff

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Posted 06 June 2005 - 10:51 AM

Payard at 74th and Lexington. The bistro in the back is good but the real artistry here is in the pastries and chocolates, for sale to carry-out or to indulge in at the bar or in the cafe seating area up front. The place has a great reputation and the staff know it -- they can sometimes be a bit "oh so very...". Don't let that stop you. It's worth many visits.

#49 R Washburn

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Posted 06 June 2005 - 12:23 PM

Payard at 74th and Lexington.  The bistro in the back is good but the real artistry here is in the pastries and chocolates, for sale to carry-out or to indulge in at the bar or in the cafe seating area up front.  The place has a great reputation and the staff know it -- they can sometimes be a bit "oh so very...".  Don't let that stop you.  It's worth many visits.

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Have you been recently? I stopped going there after I detected a sharp decline in the quality of the pastries a few years ago.

#50 ludja

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Posted 06 June 2005 - 01:33 PM

For Austrian/Viennese style pastries and cakes make sure to stop by Cafe Sabarsky in the Neue Gallerie ((Upper East Side) 1048 Fifth Ave. at 86th St. 212-288-0665). The cafe also has a beautifully authentic atmosphere that will transport you to Vienna. The last time I was there I had an excellent chestnut, whipped cream and meringue torte.

edited to add link to menu

Edited by ludja, 07 June 2005 - 09:29 AM.

"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"


#51 JohnL

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Posted 06 June 2005 - 02:14 PM

De Robertis Pasticceria
First Avenue between 10th and 11th Streets!
This place often gets overlooked but it is really special.
Very good Italian pastries in a setting that is right out of the Godfather (part one).
It has been around seemingly forever.
Marble top tables, tin ceiling etc
Real New York turn of the century flavor.
Atmosphere is similar to that of Veniero's (East 11th Street between first and second aves) just down the street but DeRobertis is less crowded less touristy and the staff is less harried. Actually you can try both!

#52 mjc

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Posted 06 June 2005 - 02:33 PM

I'll second payard, petrossian. Fauchon is ok. If you're on upper east then definetly try out cafe sabarsky. In the village try bruno bakery-though the quality there is very variable. Have some bread/pizza or pastry at Sullivan st bakery. Stop into the bakery at balthazar. And Check out the new bouley bakery for some excellent caneles and other pastries. Oh and try Jacques Torres chocolate haven, he's got some good cookies, chocolate croissants, etc.
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#53 Mistinguett

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Posted 06 June 2005 - 02:53 PM

Payard - the last time I was there was mid-april and it's still the best. I actually gave up my birthday cake in favor of the small pastries - they're all little tastes of heaven.

If I may add to the list, Ceci-Cela on Spring St. at Lafayette and if you're willing to trek to Queens, there's this european pastry shop that I've been forever raving about - Nita's bakery - 40-10 Greenpoint Ave. in Sunnyside. A short 10 minutes ride on the 7 train from midtown to the 40th st. stop and walk 1 block south.

Edited to add pictures from Nita's - this way you might decide if it's worth the trek.
One of the 4 display cases
Posted Image
and the so called "cataif" maybe because of the cataifi shreds.
Posted Image

Edited by Mistinguett, 06 June 2005 - 03:05 PM.

The human mouth is called a pie hole. The human being is called a couch potato... They drive the food, they wear the food... That keeps the food hot, that keeps the food cold. That is the altar where they worship the food, that's what they eat when they've eaten too much food, that gets rid of the guilt triggered by eating more food. Food, food, food... Over the Hedge

#54 Moopheus

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Posted 06 June 2005 - 07:07 PM

De Robertis Pasticceria
First Avenue between 10th and 11th Streets!

Atmosphere is similar to that of Veniero's (East 11th Street between first and second aves)

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Both of these places are better than what you'll find on Mulberry Street these days.

Jacques Torres' cafe Almondine on Water St. in Brooklyn is worth the trip.
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#55 Pan

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Posted 06 June 2005 - 08:12 PM

Hey everybody,

I will be staying in Manhattan for the next month on a work assignment. I would like to hit up as many bakeries/patisseries as possible while I am there. However, I don't want to waste my time or money on places that just aren't that remarkable. I’m living around 90th Street…so any place I can get to on foot or by subway.[...]

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If you like cheesecake, have a look at this thread:

THE BEST: NY Cheesecake

If you're on East 90th, the Manhattan branch of Two Little Red Hens will be within walking distance.

If you like Greek pastries, check out Poseidon Bakery; it's fabulous!

#56 Mssmltzr

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Posted 06 June 2005 - 08:44 PM

Ooooh! Thanks for the recommendations! Keep them coming!

#57 SethG

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Posted 06 June 2005 - 08:47 PM

There's also Financier Patisserie, at 62 Stone Street, downtown.

Are you interested in Breads? (Sullivan Street Bakery, 73 Sullivan St.) Chocolates? (Kee's Chocolates, 70 Thompson St.)
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#58 cupcakequeen

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Posted 06 June 2005 - 10:53 PM

is thomas keller's bakery open yet?

#59 chiantiglace

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Posted 06 June 2005 - 11:48 PM

Make sure you go to Grand Central Station. They have all kinds of gourmet foods , plus an awesome bakery section (right in front). I beleive its on Park Avenue, or the one east of Park, Madison??
Dean Anthony Anderson
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#60 Pan

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Posted 07 June 2005 - 03:12 AM

Lexington is one block east of Park; Madison is one block west of Park.

Does anyone know what bakery chiantiglace could be thinking of?