Three Tarts is unjustly undersung, sings Miss Needle. Her favorite petite sweets at this Chelsea bakery include minitarts with pine nuts or espresso-chocolate ganache, and cardamom cookies filled with apricot, espresso gelée, and almond panna cotta.
Elsewhere on the bakery beat, Batch, the sweet/savory café from Pichet Ong (P*ong), has dessert hounds talking cupcakes. Carrot-salted caramel, Dragon devil’s food, and the bright, refreshing Lemon, Lemon, Lemon are standouts, Miss Needle says. kobetobiko goes for the chèvre pudding, but cautions that “it’s not for everyone unless they like goaty flavor.”
In Little Italy, the brownies at Oro have caught wew’s eye. Baked in square paper cups, they’re crisp/chewy on all four sides and fudgy at the center. The result, he says, is delicious, and—like the recently praised brownies at City Girl Café in SoHo—“well worth the calories.” Past reports from Oro—café by day, wine bar by night—praise the madeleines and the moist, intensely flavored lemon cake.
wew has also been nosing around Midtown, where he’s found an excellent chocolate croissant at Brasserie Cognac: “The style is crisp, rich with butter, gossamer. Mine was fresh and warm and wonderful.”
Speaking of croissants and such, there’s recent word from Patisserie Claude, the beloved Village shop whose proprietor retired last year, succeeded by his longtime assistant, Pablo. “I am pleased to report that the pain au chocolat is as celestial as ever under the new proprietor,” says guttergourmet. “Merci Claude. Enjoy your retirement. And to Pablo–muchas gracias.”
Not everyone agrees. Denis thinks both the croissants and the pain au chocolat have slipped a bit, especially in texture. “I’m not saying the stuff isn’t worth having any more,” he writes, “but it’s not as good as Claude’s—which I’m inclined to regard as a testament to his individual skills rather than as a catastrophe.”
Three Tarts [Chelsea]
164 Ninth Avenue (at W. 20th Street), Manhattan
Batch [Greenwich Village]
150 W. 10th Street (at Waverly Place), Manhattan
Oro Bakery and Bar [Little Italy]
375 Broome Street (between Mulberry and Mott streets), Manhattan
Brasserie Cognac [Midtown West]
1740 Broadway (near W. 55th Street), Manhattan
Patisserie Claude [Greenwich Village]
187 W. Fourth Street (between Barrow and Jones streets), Manhattan