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1
March
2005

Dessert Week – Day 1: Balthazar Bakery

Balthazar

My first choice for dessert week was obvious. I had the day off of work and headed straight to SoHo (South of Houston) to my favorite dessert spot, Balthazar Bakery. Balthazar Bakery (aka Balthazar Boulangerie) is a small shop adjacent to the full-fledged Balthazar restaurant. Both have separate entrances and are connected by a single door that is rarely used. While the main restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and dinner and almost always requires a reservation, the bakery next door is limited to coffee and baked goods to take away.

Stepping into the tiny boulangerie is like being in a crowded subway car at rush hour, but the similarities with the city outside end there. Balthazar’s turn of the century French atmosphere will calm even the most frantic New Yorker, and make any guest feel immediately at home. Freshly baked bread, brightly colored fruit tarts, rich cakes and a variety of muffins, scones and brioche line the walls and completely envelop you in pure sweetness. A handwritten sign announces the seasonal specials, but only experience will tell you all that this little bakery has to offer. Many of my favorites (including the oat scones) are displayed in the back without a sign, so be sure to look past the eye catching front counter to find the classic and often less expensive items. You can take your pastries and coffee back to the comfort of your own home (the coffee comes with a convenient sliding lid that keeps the cup closed as you walk) or on a warm day you can enjoy your selection on the benches outside.

The details:

What I bought: Oat Scone ($2.50). The oat scone gets my vote for one of the most perfect breakfast items ever created. Perfectly thick and crumbly without being overly sweet, it will leave you satisfied without feeling heavy. A local hint: Balthazar sells some of its pastries, including the scones, to coffee shops throughout Manhattan. I regularly buy the oat scone from Oren’s coffee shop in Grand Central Station for $1.75. Oren’s is more convenient and cheaper, but not quite the same atmosphere as the boulangerie.

Oat Scone

Cost: Balthazar boulangerie is much less expensive than its restaurant counterpart (French toast at Balthazar costs $13). The high quality coffee and pastries are reasonably priced and well worth it.

Wait: There is always a line at Balthazar. The boulangerie staff realizes the tight space that everyone is waiting in and keeps the line moving quickly. Customers rarely wait more than 5 minutes to order.

Atmosphere: Beautiful turn of the century atmosphere. Always crowded, but you’ll be so busy admiring the pastries and beautiful decor that you’ll quickly forget about the people. The space is small and the only place to eat is on the few benches outside.

Uniqueness: This atmosphere, quality and selection may be commonplace in France, but you won’t find anything that compares in NYC.

Clientele: Young couples, SoHo shoppers, families and tourists.

Location: Great location in the middle of trendy SoHo, directly across from the #6 Spring Street subway station.

Staff: The staff on my visit was efficient but not particularly friendly. (On previous visits I have ordered from a gentleman who treats customers like French royalty. Very professional and refined.)

Final Verdict: A must see in New York City.

Balthazar Bakery
www.balthazarbakery.com
80 Spring Street (at Crosby)
(212) 965-1785
Open daily from 7:30am to 9:00pm

Dessert Week – Day 2: MarieBelle >



11 COMMENTS SO FAR...

Lovescool - For the Love of Dessert » Dessert Week Wrap-Up says on March 10th, 2005 at 8:27 pm:

[...] “It depends,” but if forced, my order is as follows: 1) Balthazar Bakery The atmosphere of this small space will transport you into another world [...]

Mark says on March 1st, 2005 at 11:17 pm:

The scone sounds wonderful. What did you have to drink?

Kelli says on March 2nd, 2005 at 12:02 am:

Normally I get a cafe au lait, but on this day I just took the scone to go. I was trying to cut down on my coffee, call it temporary insanity. The scone and coffee are a perfect combo, perhaps I’ll go back tomorrow on the way to my next dessert stop :)

Jessica says on March 2nd, 2005 at 11:22 pm:

Yum! I had the chocolate bread there, and it wasn’t even sweet. Definitely for the sophisticated palate. Are you going to the Jacques Torres talk? He’s my hero, so I’m going. Maybe we’ll bump into each other there.

Kelli says on March 3rd, 2005 at 12:51 am:

You’re right, the bread from Balthazar is less sweet than most. It’s a nice change every once and awhile. We were at the Jacques Torres event — sorry we missed you. I was the one asking too many questions (about MarieBelle, what he learned from his DUMBO store, if he likes making pastries, etc.). I’ll post my notes from the event soon.

Jessica says on March 3rd, 2005 at 10:44 pm:

Oh nuts, I missed the Jacques Torres event. :-( I thought it was next week. I’ll just have to wait until he gives another night seminar. He’s my hero.

Tamara Korsten says on August 3rd, 2005 at 10:44 pm:

The best thing at Balthazar has to be the Canelle(sp?)Aparently they only make a few but seriously good-kind of like a baked Choux pastry brioche traditionally on a fluted mini copper tin.Does anyone know more about where else bake these?

In Eighty Days » Two Days in New York City says on March 8th, 2006 at 1:44 pm:

[...] Balthazar Boulangerie From Battery Park, we took the 4 subway train (transfer to the 6 local at Canal Street) uptown to Soho (Spring Street subway stop). Close to the subway stop, recognizable by the red awnings, Balthazar has a great Boulangerie next door. We ordered a few lattes to go. [...]

Alex says on November 22nd, 2007 at 3:12 am:

At you very good site! I am admired by you!!!

Katia says on January 1st, 2008 at 7:46 pm:

Oh how I miss New York…and Balthazars and Magnolia. I just found your blog and hope your tea house is doing well. I’ll be back to visit often.

Patologia says on October 16th, 2008 at 3:49 am:

Las pruebas que mejor demuestran la existencia de una enfermedad se basan principalmente en el examen de una lesión en todos sus niveles estructurales, la evidencia de la presencia de un microorganismo (bacteria, parásito, hongo o virus) cuando se trata de una enfermedad infecciosa o la alteración de algún o algunos componentes del organismo (por ejemplo la glucosa en la diabetes mellitus, o la hemoglobina, en la anemia).



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