Arts and Entertainment | Food and Drink

Ladurée’s new SoHo installment fails to satisfy for price

  • Jing Qu / Senior Staff Photographer
    OH NO YOU MACARON"T | Macarons on display at the new Ladurée store in SoHo. The macarons are shipped in from Paris weekly.

Ladurée ruined macarons for me when I was younger. The first time I was in Paris, I bounded into Ladurée’s flagship eager to understand why the French were so proud of their macarons and why the rest of the world bows down to this treat. Upon taking a bite, I frowned, and my confusion only deepened when I had another. Thinking that these macarons were supposed to be representative of those in France—I mean, this is the famed Ladurée, right?—these slightly stale, mushy, and monotonously sugary things instilled in me a wrongful but deep-seated disappointment in French pastries.

At Ladurée’s newly opened SoHo store, the macarons taste exactly the same, which is a testament to their standardized quality—a remarkable feat, given that they currently have almost fifty stores worldwide. 

This store is decorated in the same beautiful mint green that characterizes Ladurée. In the shop, the first things you see are beautifully decorated pastries that sit in neat rows in their display case. Decorative macaron towers are situated next to scented candles and perfumes. Through the pastry shop, there is a tea room, which evokes the Palace of Versailles with its floral curtains and golden door handles. In the early evening, there’s already a line, although partially because orders are being processed rather slowly. Not a good portent for the rest of the meal—the food comes quickly, but paying takes 45 minutes.

Headed by executive chef Johann Giraud, formerly of La Mangeoire in Midtown, Ladurée’s restaurant offers traditional French fare with a modern, New York twist. On their menu is a selection of breakfast viennoiserie, a brunch prix fixe, various omelets and sandwiches, dinner appetizers, and mains, as well as vegetarian dishes.

Ladurée’s macarons—shipped in weekly from Paris—offer classic flavors including pistachio and chocolate, and seasonal ones like green apple and wild raspberry jasmine. The latter has a jam-like filling that lifts out perfectly in a disc and tastes like the inside of a berry-flavored pop tart. The fleur d’oranger macaron only has light hints of the orange blossom perfume and consisted mostly of a floury-tasting gooeyness at the center. The vanilla is decent, with a delicious cream center, but it already makes the cookie halves too damp. 

Macarons should not taste heavy but airy, with a fragile, crisp crust, and a filling that should allow you to cleanly bite off a portion. It also should taste like whatever flavor it has been labeled as. None of these criteria have been fulfilled to any great extent, which is disappointing given the weight that Ladurée’s name carries.

The hot foie gras appetizer is delicious, paired with seared apple slices and a thin apple purée as a garnish. Crisp and golden on the outside and still a tender, soft pink on the inside, it would be a great dish if the underside of the liver weren’t blackened from having been on the pan for too long. The monkfish blanquette is chef Giraud’s take on the classic French blanquette de veau, and the blanquette complements every aspect of the dish. Thick, creamy, and flavorful, it thinly coats the peeled celery, carrots, and parsnips garnish. The three pieces of fish, however, are under-seasoned and slightly dry. The club Ladurée is made with white, crustless bread, and comes with a salad dressed in citrusy vinaigrette and four pieces of oversized pommes de terre pont neuf. Neither of these are quite worth their price.

For dessert, the rose Saint Honoré arrives looking crestfallen, rosewater-flavored whipped cream tilting to one side. The shortcrust base gets soggy, but the details speak to Ladurée’s appreciation of the traditional French way of making this dessert. With the pink fondant glaze, fresh raspberries, and perfect rose petal, it would be pretty were it not melted out of shape. The millefeuille au rhum is equally disappointing: too rich, lumpy, and thick, with only fleeting notes of rum. 

Ladurée is to macarons as Victoria’s Secret is to lingerie—the quality of the product hardly lives up to the hype, but because it’s such an iconic brand, it’s perhaps worth venturing in for the experience. It’s hard to argue against the sentimentality that Ladurée carries, with its connotations of Parisian luxury. There are many better French macarons to be had in New York, but it’s safe to say that Ladurée will remain popular. The prestige of the brand is what you’re paying for.

yvonne.hsiao@columbiaspectator.com@ColumbiaSpec

Comments

Plain text

  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
Your username will not be displayed if checked
CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Image CAPTCHA
Enter the characters shown in the image.
Anonymous posted on

I think you don't deserve a bit to eat macaron, you foolish self-purported food connoisseur. Isn't all you care about simply getting a US/Canadian husband and get a US/Canadian Green/Maple card?

I bet you care about dress a lot, too. How about you stop for once degarding women on such an instiutional level? I read Wollstonecraft's Vindication on the rights of women and I think you are the exact type that she decries who feigns a sickly delicacy to attract men.

do you also know that no one cares about what you have to say about macarons or how you liked them when you were little? You don't even give the slightest sort of useful guide for macarons besides showing off how much you care about the fois gras appetizer. Instead, you could have provided a list of places with good macarons and price comparison, ambience comparison, etc. No one wants this long a page of your personal feeling shit.

AND THIS IS COLUMBIA, everyone's had fois gras before, and the rest, they don't give a shit about fois gras. no need to tell us that you had it in this macaron shop.

+1
-9
-1
You voted '+1'.
agree posted on

Can't agree more with the above comment. This article is just, like, so artificial. What a testament to Wollstonecraft's lament of women's pettiness and triviality.

+1
-8
-1
VS critique posted on

Victoria secret, lol, you think you are hot now? Or are you implicitly hinting at the fact that you look hot in those VS lingerie? Ughh, no. It doesn't guarantee you that every guy will think of you as hot simply because you sold your virginity to your ugly Canadian boyfriend whose family will guarantee you a cooking job after your graduation, duh. Your jagged jaw and flat/fat nose tells me you are just one ugly woman, wearing VS or not. And thumbs up to the first comment.

+1
-12
-1
Walrus posted on

Who are you people commenting here? She's a food critic! You asked for her opinion just by reading this article and why should you feel the need to say destructive, toxic things that have nothing to do with Yvonne's opinion about macarons.

+1
+13
-1
answer posted on

because she's quite fake. and it's not hard to know it

+1
-3
-1
Everybody calm down posted on

Shhhhhshh. The boyfriend is commenting above. Everyone pls calm down! I don's see what's wrong with women wanting to be satisfied with petty pleasures. If she;s happy just with macarons then let her be. She's from a very poor family so it's not easy for her to live in any sense, ok? Imagine yourself going through high school, culinary school and even college with financial aid or scholarships, you are bound to experience some inferiority complex!! If she wants a boyfriend who's rich who she can rely on after graduation (and yes, possibly even getting a green card/canadian card), then let her be! It's her choice!

+1
-3
-1
Walrus posted on

Ex-Boyfriend. If she really wanted or needed what you guys think she does, she probably would not have cut me out of her life. Please stop commenting on other people's personal lives in a forum about food.

+1
+8
-1
You should be happy posted on

You should be happy, Ex-boyfriend. As far as I know, she left you cuz she extracted enough surplus value out of you already. Think about this, how much did you pay for her while you guys went on eating adventures? Who paid for the tickets when you guys went to see a movie? etc
You are all "used-up" for her now, that;s why. She is en route for a new boy.

I think dating asian girls is very cool, but really, for our benefit, stay away from the poor ones. (poor ones in general, not just asians, white trashy girls are bad, too)

+1
-2
-1
Walrus posted on

You are wrong and I pity you because you think that the world works that way. Also you cannot type or spell, whichever it is.

+1
+4
-1
Walrus posted on

...and seriously, how does it help to think that way? You cannot really know what happened and thinking along those lines, about Yvonne and using people and generalizing poor people, is just destructive and cynical. Yvonne is a wonderful person and if you do not feel that way just do not say anything at all.

+1
+4
-1
WOW posted on

The Walurs has been visiting this page very day to downvote everything negative about yvonne. WOW

+1
+6
-1
Just saying.. posted on

I think poor people can be nice; some of my friends are poor but they are actually just as nice as your average rich girl or boy.

Though to be fair, some of the meanest and most manipulative people I have encountered have been from very disadvantaged backgrounds. Just saying.

+1
-3
-1