Monday, October 30, 2006

French Superiority

The ultimate pain au chocolat, complete with French attitude.

There are very few things worth getting out of bed for. Some of them unmentionable here. So if you’re not a morning person and are looking for something to lure you from the sweetness of slumber, try Patisserie Claude.

File this West Village bakery under the “city’s best-kept secrets,” which could be chalked up to its innocuousness existence: No loud storefront. No fancy packaging. No clever advertising. At Patisserie Claude, the products speak for themselves. With barely room for four tables, it’s usually a medley of locals, reading the paper over coffee and perhaps exchanging a few words with Claude himself — if he’s in the mood. For 25 years, he’s been baking pastries here in the city that transport you to the steps of Montmartre.

The plain croissants are, in a word, sublime. Light and buttery, they’re textbook examples of French prowess in the kitchen. But the Sweet Freak philosophy is to choose chocolate whenever the option exists. The pain au chocolat has the same layers of flaky dough as the plain croissants, but the rich, oozing center pushes the pastry from sublime to otherworldly. Especially if you go in the morning when the pastries are warm from the ovens.

Patisserie Claude
187 West 4th Street