It Ain't Paris, But Hey: New York City's Five Best Macarons

June 27, 2012 9:00 PM EDT | By Anthony Smith
Perfection, anyone? (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

It is with a heavy heart that I admit to myself and to the rest of the world that New York City is not, in fact, Paris. If I wear suspenders over yellow horizontal stripes and top my head with a navy-blue beret, people will not think it comes from an honest and affected place; rather, they will think it comes from Brooklyn. They'll be right, too.

We may never have a movie star with the casual sultriness of Bardot, but we have the next-best thing: we can be content to stuff ourselves with macarons. For those keeping score, macarons are the lighter-than-air usually-gluten-free confectionary treats that melt in your mouth and stick to your soul. If they weren't so delicious, Marie-Antoinette would have probably gone back to Austria.

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It's often contended that New York City has piss-poor macaron offerings. That was true for a while. Most of the hippest spots for them proved immense disappointments. The rest made their case. But there are newcomers and undersung that all need some singing.

To find the best macarons in New York City, you have to do some real searching. We were surprised at where the hunt for the best took us.

5. Cookie Road - Greenpoint, Brooklyn

Like nearby Le Gamin, the darling Cookie Road is a neighborhood gem; one that makes a serious case for Greenpoint-living as some of the sunniest in the city. It's a cafe and bakery that locals approach with a smile and leave with a grin. There's always a cute dog on a leash tied up outside. Most pop in for coffee and sandwiches-- or even their frittata slices, which are better than they have any right to be.

I was bowled over by their macarons. They don't do anything crazy with the flavors, opting instead to offer the standards. Their chocolate and strawberry flavors reign supreme, and at $1.50 each, they won't but a dent in your wallet. You can just keep on eating them.

4. Dominique Ansel Bakery - SoHo, Manhattan

I've written before, and will continue to write about the wonders of SoHo newcomer Dominique Ansel Bakery, whose handsome chef and sweet treats kill it on a regular basis. While their lunch offerings aren't to be ignored, let's look past them in the service of the treat of the hour: their macarons. Just a little on the sweet side here, hip dessert flavor combinations like raspberry balsamic see solid, delightful execution. We wish their coconut tasted more like coconut, but alas. We'll move on to our third place spot.

(And here, we come to the top three, which are of a caliber so divine that, really, any discrepancies between them are totally irrelevant. They're all sheer bliss.)

3. Bosie Tea Parlor - West Village, Manhattan

There isn't a thing of any kind more emblematic of the West Village than the truly wonderful Bosie Tea Parlor, who serve up the first macaron on our list so good, you'll want to recommend them to all your friends. While we went crazy for their Bacon & Maple Syrup and Salted Caramel macarons-- again both flavors making a strong argument for why they've been so hip the last two years-- we want to save up our money so we can order one of their special flavors, which can only be ordered in batches of one-hundred at a time: in particular, their white truffle, black truffle, and Aged Aceto Balsamico macarons. The very thought is making me tingle with excitement for the day when food writing makes me millions!

2. Maison du Chocolat - Midtown, Manhattan

Ah, Maison. You make me want to be a richer man. You make me want every day to be Valentine's Day even if I don't have a date. You are so expensive and everyone already knows about you, but unlike the intersections of pricy-trendy that didn't make the list, you deserve every single bit of praise. Your texture is perfect and your flavor is immense. You're worth every penny. Every flavor of you is good, so choosing a favorite is, thankfully, irrelevant. Thought our hat is already off for everything, we go one step further and shave our heads for the Salvador: a chocolate raspberry macaron. The only reason you do not have top honors is because of how strong you are. You're all prose and no poetry; and while I like that for certain foods, I prefer the opposite for my macaron.

1. Vendome - Downtown Brooklyn, Brooklyn // Smorgasburg

And that brings us to number one: Vendome. Vendome, I have recited your name thrice nightly in my bathroom mirror and still, you do not appear. Vendome, I cannot wait till Saturday so I can buy some more of you. You are so utterly sublime that it is hard to believe you are a pop-up, and that I will have to wait for the weekend before I have you again. The sheer perfection in the delicateness of your texture is unbeatable, even by the masters. Executive chef Taryn Garcia: you are the master. Let my last will and testament reflect that I hope to be buried with your Camapri Grapefruit Macaron, so that I will have something to give the ferryman for safe passage, and so that I will have something to eat along the way. Go to Smorgasburg and get this.


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