Park Slope is filled with people who match the prime Starbucks demographic, and coffee shops abound here. It may well be the one New York neighborhood with the highest concentration of coffee houses—per capita at least. The trend has reached a high point with Patisserie Colson, which opened this week after a long delay blamed on the nefarious ConEd. All manner of coffee drinks, hot and cold, are available, made with a smooth, well-balanced Danesi roast. But what distinguishes this café from all the other java joints around is the remarkable array of house-made pastries, both savory and sweet.
One specialty is the financier—in either chocolate or plain vanilla. These little cakes, shaped like a champagne cork, have the dense springy texture of macaroons but with none of the coconut. There’s no resemblance to the more traditional layered Parisian pastry that is also called a financier. This unorthodoxy may be attributed to the patisserie’s Belgian ties. The owner hails from France but has modeled the place after a well-known patisserie of the same name in Belgium. Another unusual treat put on a pedestal here is the tarte belge, a sort of pie with a filling of a rice-based custard and a topping of toasted almonds. It may sound bizarre, but even rice-pudding haters will be won over. The grains become tender-creamy and have none of the stickiness of regular rice pudding. If you want something more substantial, order the ham and cheese quiche, which comes in a more manly version—full of big chunks of meat that taste like they were just pulled from a joint.
Colson could be too ambitious for the neighborhood. Is the corner really quaint and quiet enough that you want to linger at the sidewalk tables? Will the petite muffins be enough to satisfy the stroller-set’s appetite? Will working people support a place that can’t bang out coffee to go? It’s still evolving, we hope. (The ice cream case remains empty.) No matter what though, Slopers won’t want for joe. Among our other favorites:
- Café Regular (318a 11th St.), with a décor and staff straight out of a Jeunet Caro film;
- Red Horse Café, also new and featuring the ingenious ice cubes made from coffee;
- Gorilla Coffee, where all beans are roasted on the spot in an enormous contraption; and
- Cocoa Bar, which sells elaborate chocolate creations to double your high.
Patisserie Colson, 374 9th St., Brooklyn, NY 11215, 718-965-6400