Petrossian. You may have heard of it from all that caviar you’ve been eating lately. What’s that you say? You don’t have the luxury of eating a tiny spoon of caviar for hundreds of dollars so you don’t know Petrossian? I’m with you. I hadn’t heard of Petrossian until my hunt for the best croissant in NYC kicked off.
Now, hands down the best croissant I’ve had anywhere is at Du Pain et Des Idees in Paris. And though the croissant is found world-wide these days (I mean even Starbucks and grocery stores claim to have “croissants”), there are few places that know how to make a real croissant and make it well. Since Du Pain et Des Idees doesn’t seem to be opening up a NYC location, I decided I had to find a great croissant in the city.
That’s when I discovered Petrossian. Started in 1920 in Paris with ties to the former USSR, Petrossian began as an upscale grocer focusing mostly on caviar, smoked fish and fine spices. It still has a large focus on caviar, with nearly 20% of the world caviar market, but has since expanded its boutiques to include chocolates, cheeses, and various sweet and savory baked goods. Petrossian also opened up several cafes and restaurants throughout Paris, NYC, LA, and Las Vegas. Being a French establishment with an upscale customer base, when they expanded to offering bakery items, perfecting their croissant was crucial.
So off we went to their NYC café in the hopes that they would actually pull it off. It turns out they really did hit the nail on the head! Countless dry, overdone, or hard croissants later, I can say that I’ve finally found one that’s right. It’s a real Parisian croissant. It’s delicious, buttery, and moist. It has a slightly crispy exterior and a soft, multi-layered interior, a feat achieved only when cold butter is perfectly folded into the correctly-made, well-proofed dough. You gotta try it. You’ll understand when you do. If you think you’ve been eating real croissants from most other cafes and bakeries, try this one and then get back to me.
The café offers both dine-in and take away service, though the dine-in area is quite small. In addition to the croissant, you can order any number of their homemade pastries and baked goods, including several French-style desserts made in-house. There is a full coffee and tea menu as well as a few breakfast and lunch items available if you dine in. And yes, there is an entire section of the café dedicated to caviar and smoked fish, in case you wanted to give that a try as well.
The service here is also fantastic. They will answer all of your questions intelligently, accommodate your requests, and even give you samples of pastries you may be interested in. Definitely a very pleasant and friendly environment.
Next door to this café, Petrossian has a large, formal restaurant, though it is currently closed for renovations. When (or if) it will reopen is unclear. No matter, forget the restaurant anyway. You will find the things that really matter at the café, so as long as that keeps operating, you’re good to go!