Eric Kayser baguettes

Eric Kayser opens bakery in New York

The rumors are true: Eric Kayser has opened up a bakery in New York City. Joining Ladurée on the city’s Upper East Side, the newest Kayser outpost boasts 370 square meters of space and 104 places to sit. This first location will soon be joined by two others in Midtown and the Flatiron district.

Beyond baguettes and croissants to go, Kayser in New York is attempting restauration rapide. The response, summarized by Eater, is predictable: Yelpers complaining about forgotten appetizers and inattentive hostesses. In Paris, I’m thrilled to find a bakery that offers any place to sit and am unbothered by asking several times for forgotten items. New Yorkers may prove to be a more demanding audience.

But what of the baguette? Kayser’s Paris version – the crispy crackly baguette Monge – was ranked #1 in our list of five great baguettes. Will the New York version differ? Serious Eats reports that Kayser sent a team of NYC bakers and chefs to Paris for 6-12 months to master the methods and recipes. However, instead of making the dough and baking on site at each location, as is legally required in France, Kayser NYC will produce all bread dough at the Upper East Side location and then deliver it daily to be baked fresh at the other locations.

Another key (and very American) difference: Kayser’s NYC locations will be open 7 days per week and until 11pm. I think we can also assume that they won’t close for the month of August.

Have you tried it? We’re terribly curious about Kayser’s NYC baguette (and other products) and would love to hear from any readers who have visited the new location. What’s your reaction?

Additional Links:

  • Eric Kayser à la conquête de l’Amérique [Boulangerie-Pâtisserie.net]
  • The Early Word on Maison Kayser’s First US Location [Eater]
  • A Taste of Maison Kayser, Eric Kayser’s New Bakery on the Upper East Side [Serious Eats]
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7 thoughts on “Eric Kayser opens bakery in New York”

  1. Well, I walked directly over there late this afternoon because, well, I needed a fresh baguette for my pasta dinner. I like to shop fresh. So, I get there at 4:30, and wait in the line. Short line. But, my first impression was of the slightly pretentious counter help. “She’ll ring you up.” You couldn’t do it yourself? Anyway! After the cashier was finished with the über order for the lady ahead of me, I was rung up. I remarked to myself that, oh, this is a rather short, or small baguette, and a full four inches (2+ at each end) was narrow, as if twisted to a point. Why’s that? So, I tore off an end and tasted it. The first impression was of a nice crispy crust – something every other NY baguette seems to be missing. Even Orwashers (http://www.orwashers.com) (3 blocks up and two blocks east) doesn’t have that crispness. Final judgement, after dinner? Hmm. Maybe if you warm it up … and have soft sweet butter …?

  2. I bought a Mongein New York last week. It’s very good indeed, but there was something a bit off: a slight lack of tang and chew to the crumb, an insubstantiality to the crust. Something tasted, well, American about it. I’ll give them a month and try again.

    Disclaimers: don’t think I’ve ever had the Monge in Paris, preferring instead Kayser’s specialty breads. For reference my usual baguette is either the Tradi from Les Pains de Manon, or the Passion (=pas trop cuit) or Tradi (=bien cuit) from Desgranges (both in Passy).

  3. @ Diana…exactly! … Eric probably was on line at the bank depositing his daily receipts .. i have very low expectations for Kayser so it might have what i expect… stick to the bagel !

  4. So as soon as my fiancé and I heard there was an Eric Kayser open on the Upper East Side we hi-tailed it over there!

    He literally just hopped on his bike and rode across town, kindly delivering the goods straight into my warm embrace. Kayser’s baguette was the baguette that Meg used on our awesome Paris-by-Mouth cheese tour to demonstrate the qualities of a superlative baguette. Even though I live only two blocks away from Sullivan Street Bakery and a mere half a block away from Amy’s, I’ve been craving the tender crumb and crunchy crust of Kayser. We were so filled with anticipation that my partner brought home four baguettes.

    Sadly… and MAYBE this has something to do with the fact that we literally went there days after the opening… but immediately after unveiling the bread, I noticed the crust was pale, and when I tore off a piece my anxiety was confirmed—the exterior texture was not quite right—it was not the formidable, golden and crunchy crust I had hoped for. The über tender and slightly greyish, ever so slightly tacky crumb however, definitely took me back. My conclusion: they need some time to perfect this transatlantic transfer—maybe they needed to recalibrate their ovens, adjust to the wicked New York City summer humidity?

    Though mildly disappointed, my expectations were perhaps too high… I’m still hopeful they will hit the mark of perfection that previously I didn’t think was possible to achieve by such a huge chain.

  5. Lou: our understanding (from Ed Levine’s interview with Kayser published in Serious Eats) is that the bread will be baked on site at each location. However, the dough will be produced in one location (Upper East Side) and then sent each day to the other two locations to be baked fresh daily. In France, bakers who use the term boulangerie are legally required to both bake on site and produce the dough on site. How much of a difference this will make in terms of taste, we’re not yet sure.

    La Tache: I’m usually suspicious of franchises, but I personally find Kayser’s baguette Monge to be outstanding and among the best in Paris. I’ve never tasted it outside of Paris (where the local clients are quite demanding), but it’s a long way from soulless.

  6. another diluted soulless branded formula… perfect for NYC ….
    ..what next ?.. top chef baker tv series, seems appropriate ..

  7. I heard Kayser New York will be baking on site at both the Flatiron location and the midtown location. How else can you make fresh bread?

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