Paris Baguette Has Just As Many Lunchtime Savories as Sweets
When I first found out about Paris Baguette, I was a little perplexed. Like many of us, my mind first turned to Vietnamese sandwiches, but when I found out that it was really a Korean chain of French-inspired bakeries specializing in pastries and desserts, I was even more confused.
I’ll go for sweets here and there, but they are rarely a big draw for me, so I didn’t rush to check it out. After reading Blondie’s dessert report, I decided it was worth a second look. What I found when I got there was that the menu was even more diverse than I had expected. What really got my attention was the cross-cultural menu of sandwiches from lobster rolls and cheesesteaks to bulgogi and chicken parm.
See the good, the bad and the just plain different after the jump.
I’ve been to Paris a few times and I can’t say that anything about this place seems particularly French, certainly not the berets and striped shirts. Similarly, there is very little about the menu that reminds me of anything I’ve seen in France, but really, that’s besides the point. The gimmick is unusual, but generally irrelevant. It’s all about the food.
As Blondie mentioned, the desserts are gorgeous. Display after display shows off all sorts of sweets. I still haven’t tried any, but they look pretty great.
The sandwiches are not small, exactly, but certainly aren’t massive by any stretch of the imagination. In most cases, the fillings make up for that by being pretty good. Take the bulgogi sandwich ($6.80), sweet shreds of marinated beef were topped with lettuce, tomatoes, and cheese and packed into a small, soft baguette. The bread itself probably doesn’t compare to a classic French baguette, but it’s still pretty good – certainly better than most of the chain sandwich shops around town. It’s soft, chewy and has a nicely crisp exterior.
I particularly appreciated the gooey cheese inside, although it kind of made me wonder what exactly the difference might be between this and their version of a cheesesteak. The idea that this would be any better with unmarinated beef is pretty unlikely, so I don’t really see the point of even trying it over just having another of these.
I ordered it to go, so that may account for it not being warm when I got back to my desk a couple blocks away. Topped with onions and mushrooms, a sweet sauce and a slim layer of cheese, there wasn’t much there to cover up the fact that the chicken was mealy and didn’t really taste so good. I got through about half of it before tossing it. Not finishing a lunch is an unusual occurrence for me. I’d definitely advise to stay away from that particular sandwich.
More interesting, but decidedly different is the lobster roll ($7.80). I never got a chance to check out the lobster roll that Limelight Grill was offering, so I tried it here with thoughts of reclaiming summer in my head.
The New England-style lobster roll I was imagining is not what I got. The mayo-less sandwich was served warm with a sweet cream sauce, onions and mushrooms. The lobster meat came from the claw and, though it wasn’t jammed with lobster, it was tasty and an interesting take on something I’ve only ever known one way.
Paris Baguette has plenty more to offer beyond the sweets that get so much attention. These three sandwiches were less than half of the offerings on the menu. The savory dishes are also not solely relegated to the back of the shop. Along the corridor in the middle of the store, options like these meatball pastries ($1.50) are available as well.
The + (What somebody who likes this place would say)
- Interesting takes on a variety of food.
- Bulgogi with cheese – brilliant!
- Dessert, it’s what’s for lunch.
The – (What somebody who doesn’t like this place would say)
- Um, why’s my lobster roll hot?
- WTF is wrong with this chicken sandwich?
Paris Baguette, 6 W 32nd St (btw. B’way+5th)