New in Queens, Splendid Pastries and Serious Espresso

Hounds who hang in and around Jackson Heights could once only dream of a first-rate French bakery right in the neighborhood. So they’re over the moon at the arrival of Cannelle Pâtisserie, opened in late December by alumni of the Waldorf-Astoria’s pastry operation.

“I’M IN LOVE,” swoons RedVelvet, who describes a croissant that evokes memories of Paris and a baguette that might just be one of New York’s best, “airy and delicate, with a well formed crust that doesn’t require shark teeth to bite into.” Overall, she reckons, Cannelle outshines many Manhattan pâtisseries and blows away Woodside’s La Marjolaine (which, she hastens to add, is not all that bad).

The goods are varied, gorgeously displayed, and, most important, scrumptious. Éclairs, pear tarts, napoleons, cheese Danishes, pineapple coconut cake, chocolate mousse cake—all win early raves. The pain au chocolat is light, flaky, and buttery, with just enough chocolate—“everything you would expect to find in a neighborhood patisserie in Paris,” says Arete. Hardly Parisian but also beautifully done is the Black Forest cake, deeply chocolaty yet well balanced, sandrina reports. janie was knocked out by a spectacularly dense and delicious banana-walnut muffin, among other things; “this is a bakery that can just make you happy,” she sighs.

As good as Cannelle’s baked goods are, its coffee may need work. While some report enjoying a decent cup, Mike V complains of a “beyond dreadful” espresso: “I took one sip and handed it back. ... I could make it much better in my $10 Espresso coffee maker.”

He recommends walking four blocks south to Espresso 77, a two-month-old café with coffee geek aspirations that are rare for the neighborhood. The hardware is from Florence’s La Marzocco, and the beans are from Gimme! Coffee, the well-regarded upstate roaster with cafés in Williamsburg and (opened just last week) Nolita.

The proof, of course, is in the cup, where most locals are finding well-pulled espresso drinks, made with care. rosehill reports excellent espresso and macchiato. A first-rate cappuccino transported Bonito Flakes right back to Seattle. “This place is going to do real well!” BF adds—and sure enough, the six or seven small tables are usually occupied.

Joe MacBu ranks the espresso as the best within around four miles. But this admittedly picky java hound finds room for improvement, faulting a lack of balance and complexity in the brew. “I just wish that they’d go more hardcore,” Joe adds. “They’ve got good beans and a good machine. They need to work on the barista skills some more.”

Beyond coffee, Espresso 77’s baked goods are gaining a following—try the scone with fig, bacon, and blue cheese, urges brzinnyc. Some find the lighting too bright and the music too loud. Most, though, agree with jennsch: “It’s a great addition to the neighborhood and I love that it’s owned by people who live here.”

Cannelle Pâtisserie [East Elmhurst]
75-59 31st Avenue (between 75th and 76th streets), East Elmhurst, Queens
718-565-6200

Espresso 77 [Jackson Heights]
35-57 77th Street (between 35th and 37th avenues), Jackson Heights, Queens
718-424-1077

Board Links: New French Patisserie in Jackson Heights
Canelle Patisserie–Cakes?
Espresso 77 in Jackson Heights

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