Brunch at Balthazar isn’t easy to come by—especially when you don’t have a reservation. But don’t let that stop you, especially if you’re flexible…and especially if all you want is a croissant!
Not exactly tucked away but perhaps overlooked when compared to the typical crowd outside the door of the main restaurant is Balthazar Bakery. It looks like a Parisian bakery. Inside it smells like a Parisian bakery.
After that…you quickly realize this is a New York bakery.
One good thing about this being a New York bakery (versus a Parisian bakery) is the line moves fast. You don’t have a lot of time to think or dawdle—or take photos, like I did. (Thus why many came out blurry or ill-framed as I wasn’t going to hold up the line on a Sunday morning at 10AM.)
The catches with this being a New York bakery? First, the prices. Bread and basic pastries (i.e. croissants) are very cheap in Paris—and I should know as someone who both lived there and lived off bread, contributing to a 20-lb weight gain but saving the bottom…line of my scrawny bank account.
Expect to pay $3.75 for a butter croissant and $4 for a wheat one. After that, expect to pay more for all other brioches, pastries, sandwiches, and whatnot.
Most importantly: the taste. I’m sure there is a ranking somewhere, but Balthazar Bakery would not win Best Croissant in New York City.
I’m sure fresh out of the oven, it’s phenomenal. I could tell that much from what had already become cold and stale by 10AM straight out of the basket while we munched on it on the sidewalk. The taste is there, but it doesn’t quite hold up the same way a generic same-day croissant from any corner boulangerie in Paris (or even Carrefour) might.
That said, this is an easy spot to grab a quick morning bite, weekend or weekday.