Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie
Banana Nut Chocolate Chip Muffin
Highly praised by locals and viewed from the highway on my Monday to Wednesday commute the lone factor preventing me from visiting Olivier Brouillet’s “Baguette Café” to date was the weekday only hours, an understandable choice given the restaurant’s business-park locale but a pity for those living within the somewhat Un-Vegasy constraints of a 7:30a-5:00p Monday through Friday schedule. Small in size but airy in décor it was just after eight o’clock on a PTO Monday with family in town that our trio made way into the brightly lit room and with a few locals lingering over coffee as fresh baked goods stocked a small pastry case it was mere seconds before Olivier greeted us with a smile, our affirmation to his “first time?” inquiry leading to a full description of nearly every item ready or soon to emerge from the kitchen and our eventual order comprising the majority of them. Admittedly intrigued by the sandwiches but preferring to focus on pastry it was with mild disappointment that Illy was the only brew offered as I find their over-roasted beans poorly suited for much but with this small quibble aside the glut soon to arrive would by-and-large impress, the simple croissant on par with those of Paris as shattering layers gave way to echoing caverns of butter while four items laced with high quality chocolate each proved superlative – the crispy rimmed cookie near-molten at its core and the torte rich in taste but ethereal in texture. Not quite as impressive or diverse as Bonjour Bakery or La Belle Terre but featuring a combination of great pastry and lovely service that sets it apart Baguette Café is every bit the local gem that many have claimed and although hours and coffee will prevent frequent visits I’ve no doubt I’ll find my way back eventually if not for a full meal at least for thing; an almond financier beyond my superlatives warranting any presumed hassles of location or time, even rush-hour on the 215.
FOUR STARS: Locals-only both by design and location but every bit on par with the best of The Strip at less than half the price it would be easy to begrudge Baguette Café their weekends off yet with a passionate owner clearly invested in his craft overseeing the whole operation there is something to be said for such a business model preventing burnout; quality of life begetting a quality experience infrequently found in corporate boutiques more closely focused on the bottom line.
RECOMMENDED: Croissant, Financier, Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie – the latter two particularly memorable when warm.
AVOID: Illy Coffee and arriving too early as some of the more unique pastries aren’t ready until 8:30.
TIP: A bit off the beaten path and thus requiring a little backtracking for those arriving via the Beltway heading east first timers may consider checking the GPS or a map in order to avoid frustration.
WHAT THE STARS MEAN: 5 World Class, 4 Excellent, 3 Good, 2 Fair, 1 Poor