There are too few good croissants in New York. Sure, every cafe offers one, but these aren’t properly classified as ‘croissants.’ Think about the mammoth pastry you find at Starbucks, just to throw out an example — which is, coincidently exactly what you’d want to do with it. It’s not quite buttery and the layers all have the same texture. The flavor is bland and chemically; you couldn’t crave it. That, my friends, is not a true croissant, it’s a crescent shaped pastry.
Good croissants aren’t exclusive to France and not every croissant you find in Paris is brilliant. Still, going to the (adopted) homeland means a smaller margin of error. Even when you find a croissant that isn’t the best thing ever, it is pretty darn good. There will be a redeeming feature. Not here, not in New York.
In New York, are a bunch of bakeries making bland pastries, a handful making good ones and a few making fantastic ones. Lafayette, Andrew Carmellini’s newest restaurant that opened up last April, wouldn’t be the first place you’d look in order to find a brilliant croissant. It should be good, especially for all the hype; however, restaurant croissants are usually dull and dry (Balthazar, I’m looking at you). Luckily, Lafayette honors the pastry and serves a fantastic croissant.
If you’re just going for a croissant, go to the bakery, which is off to the right of the main entrance. The space is busy with sparse seating, but enough that you’ll probably be able to snag one of the backed-stools facing the windows. If not, there’s a little bar you can stand at with enough space so you won’t be knocking elbows with your neighbors. They order The New York Times, so if you gave up reading the news when they introduced online article quotas, you can catch up here.
The croissants are gorgeous to look at; deeply browned with a shiny and crackly crust. I could tell that it would be good before I bit in. Lafayette did not disappoint. Their croissant wasn’t overly buttery, but tasted rich with a deep caramel flavor. The outside shattered with each bite, but the flakes were large enough that you could eat them, or at the very least brush them off your
pants trousers pants. It’s light, but not strangely airy. Despite the fact that it was cold and rainy when I went to Lafayette, the croissants didn’t fall victim to excessive humidity. They had plenty of different layers and a varied textural experience.
Yep, Lafayette has joined the ranks of New York’s best croissants. Now that getting a pastry at Dominique Ansel in the morning is out of the question, I’m glad that Lafayette is nearby to satisfy my
Soho Noho based croissant cravings. You always know you’re going to enjoy a beautiful atmosphere when you head to one of Carmellini’s restaurants and Lafayette is no exception. If you love your proper, crispy, crackly and buttery croissants, then you’re sure to find Lafayette’s a satisfying experience.
What pastry/baked good do you think bakeries most frequently get totally and horribly incorrect?