417 Warburton Avenue, Hastings-on-Hudson 914-478-7200
Pastry salvation has finally graced the southern Rivertowns. Baking sorceress Antoinette Beham conjures cakes, cookies, tarts and pies that will instantly enchant, your only doubt being is that the Hudson behind you, or the Seine?
The enchantment begins when you step inside. Actually right before, with the whiff of coffee—real coffee, cheek-filling, palate-swooning coffee. These are espressos, cappucinos and lattes Starbucks would give its last acidic, overpriced double mochacinno for. Then you’re inside and you know you’re home, probably because it looks like home. Sponge-textured walls, lilies painted on recessed panels, shelves spilling copper pans, antique churns and lacquered boxes. And then there are the pastries themselves, golden sour cream tarts suffused with apples, cherries and nuts, molten Callebaut-chocolate brownies, ethereal mousses, an imported-ricotta Italian cheesecake tinged with anisette. There are butter cookies, and specialty cakes made to order (four days notice, please). And always, Antoinette’s signature cheesecake, a silken wonder crowned with a sour cream glaze.
Antoinette’s magic comes by way of years in the pastry kitchens of The Culinary Institute of America, Le Cirque, Greenwich Village’s Lanciani and South Salem’s Le Chateau. Last year the Hastings native was ready for her own place, and her family rallied. Son Kus left his stockbroker career to work alongside her, becoming the business’s coffee expert and marketing force. (A website is forthcoming, as is an in-store video starring his mother’s hands kneading, shaping and chocolate-tempering.) Friends hammered, painted and sawed. The doors opened at Christmas—with 150 cake orders by New Year’s.
This spring, the patisserie plans to offer dessert wines, panini, salads and gelato. Desserts will expand to soufflés and crepes. There’ll be table service and sidewalk seating. But that’s expansion enough. “We plan to stay small and unique,” vows Kus. “We want to greet everyone by name when they come through the door.” Hope their recall is as good as their wares.
—Diane Weintraub Pohl