Sweet-toothed Chowhounds are talking macarons. Their current go-to spot is Madeleine, a charming new pâtisserie in Chelsea that makes them in more than 20 flavors. These are very, very good, promises vvvindaloo: “Nice crispy meringue outside meets creamy/tangy/sweet inside.”
One standout flavor is Argumes (mandarin orange zest, Cointreau, and bergamot), says MMRuth, who’s also partial to hazelnut, plum, and chocolate. “Somehow,” she muses, “they manage to be delicate and incredibly rich at the same time.” vvvindaloo favors the fruit flavors, including spectacular cassis, passion fruit, and strawberry, but faults the pistachio and coconut macarons for overpowering, out-of-balance flavors. Be sure to eat them at room temperature, advises dirtyplumcake, “otherwise the sensation of the filling is like eating cold butter.”
Well-traveled macaron eaters rank Madeleine’s ahead of others available around town, including Payard’s, Bouchon Bakery’s, and La Maison du Chocolat’s, and some even compare them to the wares of such European masters as Ladurée in Paris and Confiserie Sprüngli in Switzerland. This kind of giddy talk riles jasmurph, who sniffs that Madeleine’s macarons are too big, “entirely too sweet and lacking all subtlety.”
The owner, Pascal Goupil, has been on hound radar for several years, having won fans at Goupil and DiCarlo in the East Village and the French Oven in Chelsea Market. Beyond macarons, he’s making croissants, tarts, quiches, and other bites. HLing praises the croissants, including a nice, nutty dark chocolate one; 95-cent chocolate miniatures; and a generous-size ham-and-cheese, topped with perfectly crisped cheese blisters. Also recommended: cherry tarts, almond cream brioches, and tiny, moist coconut macaroons.