Le Patissier means the pastry chef; you can listen to how it’s pronounced here http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/pâtissier. My American tongue has a hard time wrapping itself around the word. My tongue had no problem with their food however.
This French bakery is on Circle Boulevard in Corvallis anchoring one corner of the strip mall located behind Market of Choice. I’d tried stopping by once or twice before but they’re only open mornings and early afternoons.
The interior is bright and happy. The walls have been painted in pink and yellow stripes with black accents and trim. Chandeliers are hung from the exposed beams while black and white curtains adorned the windows. The round tables were covered with white table cloths and topped with glass. The overall effect was cheerful and clean and what I would consider a French look.
They had many tables, a good thing as busy as they were. Most of the tables were sized for 2-3 people with one or two larger tables. But there were too many for the size of the room, it was hard to navigate between them. When I was ready to leave I actually had to ask a lady to get up and move so I could get by. Even removing one table would give their customers a lot more navigating room.
Upon entering I queued up in line, quickly realizing that you gave your order and paid at the counter. Waiting in line gave me ample time to indecisively ponder the beautiful delights of the dessert counter; however, it took me quite some time to realize, due to the swarm of people at the register, that there was another counter on the other side full of bready delights; croissants, baguettes, and rolls, oh my! The register was strangely located between the two cases cutting of a complete view of both of them.
At the end of the counter there was a lovely antique dresser that held sweeteners, creamer, teas, napkins, etc. It was an atmospheric piece, but not well suited to its task. The supplies were crowded onto it and another customer was poking around and opening drawers and boxes looking for tea, which their selection looked picked over.
Half way through their day the bakery was clean and well lit. The floors were a bit dirty, but it was understandable with the amount of business they were doing.
While I found the décor delightful, I think it could be rearranged to be more efficient.
The counter service was fast and efficient. The young man that helped me was patient and did his best to answer all my questions. He’s the one that informed me that patissier is a pastry chef while patisserie means pastry. My order did not require food to be brought out, I ordered from the cases, but the staff was constantly circulating the room. My plate was barely empty before it was whisked away. Overall the staff was fast, friendly, and efficient.
Selecting something was quite a decsion, everything looked good. I was sorely tempted by their selection of crepes, available only on the weekend. They had the usual assortment of sweet crepes but they also offered a chicken béchamel or a tomato and brie. Sandwiches, quiches, and lunch specials rounded out the menu.
I’ve never really understood what the big deal was about croissants. The Pacific Northwest has not been famous for its bakeries. I knew I had not experienced a quality croissant before, American sandwich shops and grocery stores are not a reliable indicator, I know this. I just had no idea how good they could be. Now I get it. I chose the ham and cheese croissant, ham and cheese with jalapeno was also available as well as a few other varieties sweet and savory. Oh my crispy, flaky, buttery heaven! Layers of pastry hiding tender soft slightly tangy bread. The ham and cheese had settled along the bottom of the croissant but somehow the entire puffy creation was infused with their flavor. One croissant was the size of both my hands. I thought I might only eat half but this is an airy layered creation with a solid savory base and it was gone in no time.
The dessert case had mesmerized me. Everything looked so good! So many meringues, tartlets, and ganaches. I finally settled on the swan cream puff. I’m not a huge fan of cream puff, but look at it. Look! It was way too cute not to have it at least once. Cream puffs seem to be a vehicle for whipped cream and I like something I can bite into. That said, they have amazing whipped cream. The cream was obviously fresh, you can’t fake that taste. It was also freshly whipped, slightly sweet, with a hint of vanilla. The puff was good as well. When they sit for any length of time they absorb moisture from the cream, but this was still fairly crisp.
I also picked-up an apple Danish to go. This was completely different from the Danishes that I’m used to. Apples had been placed in the center of the dough and then they were baked together. This resulted in a round, tender bread with baked apples in the center. The bread was crispy and flakey on the outside, tender on the inside with a gentle buttery sweetness. It was more like bread than the sticky sweet creations I usually see called Danish.
I rounded out my meal with coffee which was good and quite acceptable but not extraordinary. If I had to guess, I’d say it was a French roast. J
I found it interesting that they serve beer and wine. Now, this is a place that is only open for breakfast and lunch. The latest they are open is 3 pm. That seems very French. They are open for reservation only dinners on occasion, such as Valentine’s Day.
The clientele that day ranged from college students to senior citizens including a family that seemed to span several generations. The prices are reasonable; all four items came to just over $12. The service is fast and friendly and the food is wonderful. In fact there are so many good things about this place that it’s easy to mark the few drawbacks up to quaint idiosyncrasies.
956 NW Circle Blvd., Corvallis, Oregon 97330
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