Being the morning person that I am, there is nothing that I revel in more than a delicious brunch or breakfast. The opening of the Ladurée café in SoHo had me excited for ages, and since then, I've been a fairly avid customer. This post shall be a review, featuring photos of some of my favorite breakfast dishes and pastries, as well as the incredibly ornate decor of the restaurant.
Of course, the best kind of brunch is the one you enjoy lazily at home on your balcony or porch (if you're lucky enough to have one, that is), but Ladurée trumps my dingy fire escape any day.
The entry room is pictured below. It is usually bustling with activity, as the shop is wont to fill with visitors on the hunt for macarons and pastries, which can be purchased at the counter across from this seating area.
Photo via Honestcooking.com
The next room is lusciously dark, but I don't particularly like dark spaces, so I prefer sitting in the very last room :)
Photo via Harper's Bazaar
My favorite part of Ladurée is this fanciful reincarnation of Versailles. I am delighted every time I step in. The ceiling boasts a sumptuous chandelier and a painted clouded sky, framed by elaborate ornamental plasterwork. The gilded mirror, tables and chairs, the overall decor of this room are all exquisite.
Photo via Pinterest
Finally, a garden was (somewhat) recently opened, adding an outdoor element to Laduree's already gargantuan space.
Image via MG & Company
Decor Rating: 10/10
This is, hands-down, one of the most beautiful places to eat in New York. Considering the fact that Ladurée is priced similarly to other city restaurants (and the food is quite good), the decor makes a trip totally worth it.
My favorite breakfast dish to order from Laduree is the eggs Benedict dish, usually (okay, always) with a side of bacon. It is so delicious, and the waiter graciously pours the Hollandaise sauce all over the eggs and biscuits for you...makes ya feel pretty fancy. My best friend had the Ladurée omelette, albeit to less satisfaction.
Lesson: Order Eggs Benedict, not Ladurée omelette
I can't really make a judgment about Ladurée's food, given that I am limited by having only eaten breakfast there (and always ordering the same thing), but the eggs Benedict there are very good. My boyfriend can also vouch for them. Everything was served on pretty, pastel-colored plates.
But, let's be realistic - the real reason we all go to Ladurée is for the pastries...
They often have seasonal ones, like this green one, called the Harmonie, with pistachio, raspberry, and strawberry. I've tried this one and the one pictured to the left - both are fairly good.
The giant strawberry cake was also a seasonal special (the La Fraise Strawberry cake).
The caramel Saint-Honoré cake is also delicious, as is the raspberry Isaphan. I enjoyed it more than the rose Saint-Honoré, as I'm not keen on rose-flavored things. The rose in the Isaphan is milder, given that it's only a cream within the pastry. My wonderful friend Kayla from Toronto let me sample her raspberry tart (Tarte passion framboise), which is also quite good.
The rose Saint-Honoré is incredibly decadent, if only just to look at. The pastry is flavorful, but my aversion to rose-flavored food makes it difficult to call this one of my favorites. It is strikingly beautiful - that much is undeniable.
My FAVORITE pastry from Laduree is pictured below - the Plaisir Sucre, a chocolate, praline, and hazelnut Dacquoise cake topped with milk chocolate and whipped cream.
Keep in mind that pastries are [somewhat inexplicably] priced higher when you purchase them inside the restaurant (to eat on the premises) than they would be if you were to purchase them "to go." (If anyone knows why, I'd welcome the insight!)
Pastry Rating: 8.5/10
The pastries are at least $8-$12 dollars (if you opt to be seated in the restaurant), which makes them fairly pricey. However, some, like the Plaisir Sucre, make it worth the splurge. All of the pastries are unique and pretty, though I recommend going with a group of friends and getting a bunch so that you can all sample! ;) Laduree also has very yummy ice cream!
Of course, it's difficult to leave Ladurée without buying yourself some macarons, too...
The best flavor, in my humble opinion, is salted caramel.
(which explains why they disappeared soon after the previous photo)
The Ladurée cafe is definitely worth checking out. Making a reservation is probably a good idea for the usual busy times (major holidays, weekend brunch), though I haven nearly always merely walked in and been seated immediately. Overall, Ladurée SoHo is probably one of my favorite spots to eat. Plus, it's basically a two minute walk from Chanel. What more could I ask for?
Location: 398 W Broadway, New York, NY 10012
Phone: (646) 392-7868