It takes a lot of chutzpah to open up a high-end French bakery in NYC, complete with refined, old-school "tea salon" right across the street from a superb French bakery, Maison Kayser, which also boasts an always-packed casual eatery. But French pastry chef Francois Payard has never been accused of lacking confidence and so, after a three year hiatus in the neighborhood, he returned to the Upper East Side in October with an elegant new flagship, FP Patisserie. Glenwood Upper East Side residents: you now have two world-class NYC French bakeries, located within steps of each other, to satisfy all of your fancy pastry needs. This may also be the perfect gift to give to any unchecked person on your holiday list this year. Who doesn’t love delicious high-end French pastries?
So Many French Bakery Options!
We've already raved about Maison Kayser, and subsequent visits have only confirmed our belief that this is, if not the absolute best, certainly among the top four or five bakeries in all of New York City. But while there is a certain amount of overlap in the baked goodies at Maison Kayser and Payard's new space, including (but no means limited to) croissants, fruit tarts, and elaborate gateaus. FP Patisserie does offer a different sort of fine French pastry experience. For one thing, FP Patisserie features racks and racks of Payard's macaroons (further chutzpah alert: this is just a few blocks from the legendary Laduree Macaroon shop on Madison, another Glenwood favorite!). Another thing, FP Patisserie will NOT sell bread. Francois Payard explains: “People will complain that I'm being too French but this will be just a pastry shop, like in France, more refined than the bakery. I need to be more feminine on the Upper East Side."
Which is the Best French Bakery?
Well, feminine or not, we popped in to FP Patisserie one recent afternoon to sample something sweet. Rather than dining on salads and croque monsieurs in the leather-and-marble "Salón de Thé" in the rear, we sat up front at the espresso counter. There are dozens of pastries from which to choose, and we were happy with our caramel chocolate concoction. Surprisingly, the FB Patisserie macaroons were much less successful: both the special seasonal "pumpkin spice" and the licorice were curiously one-note, and that note was "sugar". Personally, we would suggest Laduree for Upper East Side macaroons, and Maison Kayser for everything else, but it is nice to have the option of FP Patisserie. Though in the end, it is up to you to decide which is the best French bakery in NYC!
Experience FP Patisserie for Yourself
Francois Payard's FP Patisserie is located on Third Avenue between 75th and 74th Streets and is open on Monday through Saturday from 7:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., and on Sunday from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. For more information and a look the whole Francois Payard experience, visit them online!