A new patisserie recently opened here in lower Astoria (it used to be a sleepy Columbian bakery), and upon the urging of some friends, we stopped in to sample their fare. The Petit Prince is much more than a little pastry shop: they also serve a small selection of sandwiches and coffee too. My personal love is french bread. Real french bread. As a disclaimer, I must say that there are some truly great bakeries in Astoria (Parisi Brother's, La Guli, Rose and Joe's, and Long Island Bakery are among some of the best)... but they're all coming from an Italian background, let's face it. The "baguettes" at Parisi's are made with shortening and Rose and Joe make a better Sicilian slice than a crusty french loaf. The Petit Prince, with its charmingly authentic French-accented baker/propietor, is the first I've sampled here that is loyal to French technique. Snobby, huh? Finally, a baguette reminiscent of Paris and worthy of a big blob of St. Marcellin! Next time I'll have to try some actual pastries.
Note the blistered, crisp skin and the characteristic point on the end of the baguette. Real topography here: high, crunchy ridges crown the loaf. The color of the skin is actually golden brown, not doughy and pale. The inside is airy (the result of a proper working of the gluten) and has chewy big bubbles that yield beautifully to fresh butter, pate, confiture, Nutella, or anything at all! At about $2 for a large baguette, its just as well priced at its Parisian cousins but a lot more convenient to pick up for dinner tonight.
Who can resist a fresh croissant? I got a smaller size one (they've got two sizes) and was pleasantly surprised by how authentically buttery and delicate its innards were. No margarine here. The layers were distinct and slightly chewy. The outside was less crispy than flaky, which is okay. As long as its not one of those big bready monstrosities from the early-morning midtown bagel cart vendors
The Petit Prince
Broadway between 33rd and 34th Streets
It only opened fairly recently so they're still working out some final details and I suspect that we will see more menu additions as time goes on...