Warmer weather means outdoor eating, and one of my favorite places to grab a quick lunch to-go in Soho with guaranteed seating at benches right outside is Balthazar Bakery. Sink in your teeth into their into one of their two savory croissant sandwiches ($7.25 each). My heart lies with the fresh Asparagus and Mushroom, oozing Gruyere; but for something meatier, the Ham and Béchamel combination is just as good. While the housemade croissants may not be the best in New York, they're still mighty buttery and flaky, and the generously filled sandwiches are excellent. They'll offer to warm your croissant sandwich to order, and if you plan to eat right away, then take advantage of the offer. If not, then pass. By "warming," they mean a quick go in the microwave. It's all right if eaten immediately, but the croissant becomes tough and the filling gummy after a few minutes.
Fans of Balthazar's famous Goat Cheese and Onion Tart at the attached restaurant will be pleased to learn that they same tart is offered for takeaway on the bakery side. This buttery tart is something like a quiche, the crust cradling a lush and cheesy, custardy filling with a whisper of thyme and a core of caramelized onions. Classic quiches, vegetable and Quiche Lorraine are also offered at $7.25 each, but they croissant sandwiches and onion tart are the true highlights of their bakery's savory offerings. On the sweet side, finish with the Ginger-Citrus Tea (hot in the winter, and iced in the summer), and the butter-rich, truly sticky Sticky Bun ($3.75), with pecans and raisins, for the morning after.
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