Review: Bouchon Bakery, NYC

If you haven’t noticed, I like fancy restaurants. However, when Terry and I travel, we tend to do smaller, less-fancy places because I think you get a flavor of wherever you’re at a bit better than at fancier digs. We want to eat with the people. Or something.

I knew that Thomas Keller’s restaurants would be on vacation most of the time we were in New York (and that I should have thought about Per Se reservations weeks before I actually did), but I made him promise that we would get to Columbus Circle so I could get some macarons at Bouchon Bakery. I had heard that they were the best macarons in the States, so I had to have some. Then, Kari told me they had the best chocolate chip cookies in the world. I am not one to ignore such tidbits of information, so one slightly overcast day, we headed over there.

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There are two sections to the bakery, which is housed in the Time Warner building in Columbus Circle. First, the bakery, which is a simple stand where you can pick up a cookie or a sandwich, and then a full-service cafe. We went through the line at the bakery, hardly able to make up our minds as to what we wanted. I ended up with exactly what I had planned on getting: a macaron and a chocolate chip cookie.

The macaron I chose was fruits of the forest, which were two purplish almond-and-egg-white cookies sandwiching some berry preserves. Crisp and delicious, but a whole lot bigger than the ones I’ve had in the past. I prefer the small ones, but these were pretty tasty.
Bouchon- macaron

The chocolate chip cookie was good, but not the best I’ve ever had. I think that, perhaps, these would be awesome straight out of the oven. Still, it was a darn good cookie.

Bouchon Bakery-- chocolate chip cookie

We went outside to prance around in Central Park and it started raining. Sheets. So we decided to wait out the rain by having a meal in Bouchon Bakery. After all, I’d only had a macaron (we saved the cookie for later).

The service was excellent; our waiter was knowledgeable but laid back and ignored my picture-taking. Terry (who had munched on some leftovers for breakfast before I was even up) wasn’t hungry, but he saw my eyes light up when the waiter mentioned melon soup, so he ordered it. What a trouper. It was fantastic: that amazing sensation of fresh melon, with some tarragon and creme fraiche– outstanding. I savored every bite he shared with me.

Bouchon-- cantaloupe soup

It was accompanied by some outstanding French bread and butter.

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I ordered a very traditional sandwich– jamon et fromage. Ham, Gruyere, and a bit of mustard pressed together. They were a total trip back to paris– cheesy, melty– if I hadn’t been in the middle of a mall (yes, Bouchon Bakery sits inside what is essentially a mall) I’d have thought I was in Paris. It was accompanied by a small salad and a few cornichons.

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If you’re in the area and want a taste of Thomas Keller but can’t get into Per Se, try Bouchon Bakery. And don’t skip the macarons for anything!

Bouchon Bakery on Urbanspoon

  • Jackie Danicki

    One of the toughest meals I ever had was Bouchon Bakery when I had used up my allotted calories for the day. They do a nice, plain salad…*sob*

    Also in the Time Warner building is Landmarc – pretty good spot for meeting people, not extraordinary but pretty good. Usually quiet at breakfast, too, so good for getting down to business.

  • The Donut Guy

    My wife was there last month, she got me some of those macaroons but she ate them on her way home.

    I still love her though.

  • Mr. Majestic

    Sounds delish – we will have to try it next time we visit the friends & relations.
    Must say, though, when we hunger for sweets in NYC (for over twenty years running) our perennial fave has always been Veniero Pasticceria.
    Wandering in on a summer evening to enjoy baba rum and an iced capp … oooohhh, memories!
    Thanks for the tip. We’ve just recently discovered you (smile) and look forward to reading more of your adventures!

  • Julie

    Jackie– Oh, that sounds horrible. The plain salad WAS nice, but I’d die if I couldn’t have a bit of bread or some soup.

    Donut Guy– It must be very hard for you, to have been that close to a macaron…

    Mr. Majestic– The next time we go (Terry’s been going for 25 years or so, used to live there sort of; I’ve gone three years in a row now) we will try Veniero. I’m a sucker for baked goods. Total sucker! You need to try Angelina’s Bakery in Findlay Market if you make it down here– pretty good baba au rhum.

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