When your teeth sink into these morsels, the flaky outer shell is at once admirable with its light toasting, and crispy texture. The shell shatters to reveal layers and layers of phyllo dough; giving way with a touch of resistance until you hit upon the chocolate filling which is a goodness in and of itself.
I can’t eat just one croissant. In fact, I was determined that I would find the best one in New York. Mojo Cafe in the West Village is a hands down amazing flaky chocolate filled number. It was considered one of the best by Manhattanites. The little secret was, they didn’t make them themselves. A local French pastry shop did, bringing them to Mojo fresh each morning. Brevette off Bleeker Street is also good. But I had expected something different from the French chef. The little crescents were more tender, delicate inside and out, with no flake! I almost think they forgot the butter. Yes, they were handmade that morning, but all the pastries mentioned here are. They came with handmade jelly, a plus. I’ll probably order something else next time.
Skip around the corner to Boisie Tea Parlor. I glance at the curb to see if the Tesla Roaster is in its spot, yep. Owner is in the house. He tends to sit perched next to the register chatting with the staff. His star baker Damien Herrgott is considered to be in the top five in Manhattan, my waistline can vouch for this. Herrgott’s croissants are hand size, flaky exterior with a very French laminate style… aka those large air pockets. This happens when layer after layer of phyllo dough is smothered with butter between each layer. One screener I always use is if I have to dust off any flakes of crust that tend to fly everywhere when having a great croissant. Never a problem here. The interior has just the right amount of stretch and resistance. Plus, they are not too greasy. Whether plain or chocolate they are sure to delight. Just get there by noon or you’ll miss them.
Head across Broadway to Ceci-Cela in SoHo. They have the smaller French style croissants. The flake is great. The interior stretched. The flavor is good. Definitely a recommend. Then there is also Francois Payard Bakery, in SoHo. I thought I had found the best pastry, until I went back again… and again. The flavors were always spot on and consistent. The toasting was not. Sometimes they were golden, sometimes there was charcoal. Plus, I am not sure how they managed to make flat croissants. Nice Matin is a Rhineland restaurant, on the upper west side, with a 1960s glamor with Sputnik chandeliers overhead… never renovated… always perfect. As are the croissants. One of my favorite moments is opening up a box of them while sitting in Central Park, is that they always include two of their handmade jellies. I give them the thumbs up for perfect but… they are just a tad greasy. But easy to forgive, and forget.
All of the croissants that I mentioned above were almost perfect. In the end I decided that I would call off the hunt to find the perfect croissant, and simply settle for the best that was out there. Then, I found perfection in Buffalo, NY – at Caffé Aroma on Elmwood Avenue
When your teeth sink into these morsels, the flaky outer shell is at once admirable with its light toasting, and crispy texture. The shell shatters to revel layers and layers of phyllo dough; giving way with a touch of resistance until you hit upon the chocolate filling which is a goodness in and of itself.
After gobbling up the first one, I pushed the empty plate aside and dove into its almond brethren… with a delectably light and sweet almond paste filling. In hindsight, it almost seemed to go down too fast.
The croissants at Caffé Aroma are a hands down delight. Baked to perfection, with the right amount of flavor, perfectly golden… just right. I can safely say, that from my experience, the best croissants in New York, are found in Buffalo, New York. The hunt is officially over, and there is one very satisfied customer who is happy to rave about her discovery.
That’s why, after eating the first two at a feverish pace, I decided to take two more to go… so that I could enjoy them at my leisure throughout the rest of the day.