Cafe Pouchkine in Paris is my favorite fine pastry shop on the planet and I was totally excited to see if Emmanuel Ryon's gorgeous pastry would translate here in the US and couldn't wait to get to NYC to try it. Last Friday I took the train into town and met a friend at Brasserie Pushkin for a mid afternoon pastry tasting.
The space is gorgeous, a haven of calm on crazy busy W 57th, and I perused the pastry case while waiting for my friend to show. While the pastry looked much like that in the case at Cafe Pouchkine in Paris, I was disappointed to see that my pan-ultimate favorite pastry of all time was not offered. Sigh. But there were many other fabulous looking treats and I was more than ready to be seated at a lovely table with cushy chairs (and a little table for my bag!) when my friend arrived.
After much negotiation, we decided on 4 sweet pastries and one savory and we began our pastry pig out. First came a fish turnover, a nice pastry crust filled with smoked fish. Tasty but nothing to seriously rave about and clearly microwaved to heat it up so quickly.
We ordered 3 pastries from the case and 1 special pastry from the menu. Two of the case pastries (the eclair tvorig and the Napolean/millefuielle) both suffered from having been sitting in the case since morning. They were delicious and not too sweet but had lost the crisp texture necessary for real success for either of these pastries. A third pastry from the case, a white chocolate. pistachio and red fruit confection that looked like a rose was moist and fresh as it should be but a little to sweet for me.
The clear winner was the Hazelnut Dome, made to order, and a sublime combination of tastes, textures, and temperatures. Everything a stellar dessert should be: A crisp hazelnut meringue dome filled with cinnamon ice cream and apple compote, decorated with crisp/chewy dried apple chips and saffron/apple jelly. Spectacular to look at and incredibly delicious.
After dessert we ordered coffee, which was expensive and luke warm. They did heat it up for me but it simply wasn't good coffee. Ah how I miss Paris!
Should you go? Yes. But go early in the day for the best freshness of some of the case pastries. And skip the savories. And coffee.
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