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Fearless Critic restaurant review
Baked goods, Sandwiches

Tue–Fri 8:00am–6:30pm
Sat 8:00am–5:00pm
Sun 8:00am–4:00pm

Features Outdoor dining, veg-friendly
Bar None
Credit cards Visa, MC, AmEx

1645 Wisconsin Ave. NW
Washington, DC
(202) 342-3248
Patisserie Poupon
Pastries here bring DC a little closer to France—and they’re as pretty as they are delicious

Welcome to Heaven. Maybe it’s the cream-colored interior that calls to mind vanilla-scented clouds, or the two large glass cases each displaying three shelves of delicate fruit tarts, creamy pies, buttery éclairs, jewel-like truffles, and a dozen other delights. Or maybe it’s the smell of expertly made espresso drinks served at the simple bar. Past an exposed brick wall in the back, there’s a brick patio (actually a narrow alley), with pretty tables and a slant of sunlight, that evokes a little Parisian courtyard: on one side is a wooden gate, and on the other, windows face into the Patisserie.

Deciding where to begin can be a challenge. A compulsory light breakfast and lunch menu is offered. Refreshingly, olive oil is featured more prominently than traditional butter, and the result leaves you with more appetite for dessert. A Caprese salad, for example, is made with large, red, juicy tomatoes (a rarity in city Caprese), a chiffonade of basil, infused oil, and molehills of fresh mozzarella. Breakfast omelettes are delicate if a little boring, and butter returns to the fore in Poupon’s decently cheesy, if standard, quiches. The bakery’s breads are excellent by DC standards. Baguettes are crunchy and thoroughly floured on the outside, slightly sour and soft inside. If Poupon’s sandwiches are a bit uninspiring, it’s by no fault of the bread’s.

Finally—and you may want to start here anyway—the desserts. But how to choose? Shiny berry-filled tartlets are gems to the eye as well as the tongue: the vanilla custard cream and buttery dough are enlivened by just the right amount of tart, sweet fruit. Macaroons, no easy feat for even skilled pastry chefs, are properly puffy sandwiches of almondy sweetness, not too doughy and not too dry. Croissants are some of the better ones in town. Though they are not quite as flaky as they should be, neither are they greasy, and their million layers of butter also come laced with almond paste or dark chocolate. Try the petits fours, or the refined Italian sorbet. And don’t forget your friends—bringing a pricey (but oh-so-worth-it) Poupon cake to your next dinner party will ensure that you get invited back.

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