For the last week I've been trying to reconcile the fact that one of the best croissants I've had in a long time came not from some fancy French bakery but from a new tea shop in the West Village called Press Tea. Not only are the Pain Au Chocolat and Croissants superb (and priced right at $2.50), but Press Tea's other baked goods, like their creatively seasoned scones, are excellent as well.
The croissant is baked to a beautiful dark brown with a crunchy, flaky finish. Often, if the outer layer is too crispy, it can leave the inside hollow, robbing the croissant of its many layers. Not so here—the inside layers are plentiful and buttery. The bottom of the pastry is also very well baked. The pain au chocolat is similarly excellent, with the added bonus of a small vein of dark chocolate running through the pastry. At $2.50, these pastries might be the best viennoiserie deal in the West Village.
The savory PBJ Scone ($2.50) contains prosciutto, brie, and jam. This smaller-than-average scone has a nice, lightly glazed outer crust and brings a great mix of salty and sweet flavors, like a cheese plate all in one bite. The Maple Bacon Scone ($2.50) gives City Bakery's maple bacon biscuit a run for its money with its caramelized bacon pieces. It leans savory but is sweetened by stripes of frosting across the top.
All this talk about Press Tea's pastries and I haven't even mentioned their signature product—pressed tea. Press Tea uses an approach similar to expresso making to make their teas. On the sweeter side, try the Caramel Rooibos Latte ($4-4.50); it's much lighter than any offering at Starbuck's and way more flavorful. I also recommend the Rose Black Teapuccino ($4-4.50). They also offer a line of upscale gourmet sandwiches.
About the author: Native New Yorker Niko Triantafillou is the founder of DessertBuzz.com his photographs of desserts and pastry chefs have appeared in the Wall Street Journal and Dessert Professional Magazine. He is an unabashed foodie nerdling. You can follow him on Twitter at @DessertBuzz.