Paul: Bakery / Dessert
So continuing with the French theme…French Press…French Cookies (Madeleines)..and now the Patisserie called Paul.
I first heard about Paul from a good friend of mine. She was adamant that the Paul in DC had THE BEST macaroons she ever tasted. Later, I had heard similar ravings about Paul. So, one day, as we were strolling through Tysons Galleria, she was excited to see a Paul opening soon. I ended up in Tyson’s Galleria this past weekend and checked out Paul with the Hubby and friends. The outside is definitely reminiscent of the French bakeries and the displays of various breads and pastries beckon you to get on line.
After trying the much-hyped pastries, here’s the best summary:
Thank you, Kevin Sorbo (aka Hercules or in this case Evil Hercules). For the steep price tag and so-so pastries, I wasn’t impressed. Was it the over hype? Was it my elevated expectations after having tried real French pastries? I don’t know, but I really didn’t find anything spectacular about Paul’s offerings. I even came back TWICE just to be fair, but alas, it wasn’t heaven for my taste buds.
Hubby and I had gone Friday night and purchased an assortment of mini macaroons and an apricot pastry. Again, the price point was steep. $15 for a box of mini macaroons and $4 for the pastry.
My husband liked this pastry because it wasn’t sweet. But, my husband really doesn’t like anything sweet….so, for me, the pastry was rather bland and could’ve used some sweetness. And, the apricot was bitter when I bit into it (almost as if it wasn’t ripe enough and there certainly wasn’t any sugar!). I’m not a sugar obsessed fiend but, I felt this was false advertising. The pastry looked beautiful and promising with its gorgeous flaky crust and sweet looking, fresh apricots. Sigh. See Kevin Sorbo clip above for how I felt.
Onto the much hyped macaroons. Overall, there weren’t as light and fluffy as I wanted. It was a bit denser and sweeter than I thought it would be. The filling definitely had a distinct butter taste to it.
So, here’s the rundown of the Macaroon flavors:
Coconut: Bits of coconut flakes make it appealing . You could certainly taste the coconut but it was just okay.
Chocolate: Sweet and decadent. A bit heavy for me.
Caramel: Very sweet. In fact, too sweet for me.
Oh and really, Paul? For a steep price tag of $15, I was surprised at the beaten up macaroon.
Lemon: I liked this one. I liked the lemon peel pieces so it was refreshing.
Raspberry: Not too bad. A bite of raspberry jam.
Pistachio: Probably the one I liked the most but I am a pistachio fan by nature. So, this was good, as I could taste the pistachio flavor.
So, overall just okay. I thought that perhaps because it was boxed that they weren’t made on site or they weren’t as fresh. So the next morning, we ended up trying Paul with our friends. This time, we got the giant Pistachio Macaroon and a Chocolate Croissant. Our friends got the Cappuccino Macaroon and a pastry (had a fancy French name but really it looks like a Gingerbread man with its limbs dipped in chocolate).
Giant Pistachio Macaroon: Good. Really no different from the mini macaroons (which I think is made on site). At its giant size, it was good, still had the distinct pistachio taste, but again, still a bit denser and the filling was distinctly buttery. At $5.45 each macaroon, I really didn’t feel it was worth it.
Giant Cappuccino Macaroon: Sigh. This sucker was frozen. Our friend really had to dig in with the plastic knife to cut this guy. Taste wise, it had the distinct coffee flavor, but not my favorite, and I love coffee. I may have to agree with some Yelp reviews that this one was really just an overpriced Whoopie pie.
Chocolate Croissant: Just okay. The croissant itself is delicious, but I wish it had more chocolate. This guy just had two little sticks of chocolate shoved into it. Nothing spectacular.
Gingerbread shaped chocolate pastry: Nothing special. Our friend was hungry and he beheaded Mr. Chocolate Pasty immediately.
Big name franchise, fancy pastry names, okay tastes, and steep price tag make Paul an okay spot if you have a hankering for macaroons and are in the neighborhood.
Check it out: http://www.paul-usa.com/shop/en-US/Shops
Food Quality: I believe that quality ingredients are used, but just not fully realized.
Overall Rating: So, overall, due to the price tag and the so-so quality / taste of the pastries, I’m sadly giving Paul just 2.5 Moos. I was hoping it was going to be so much more, but it wasn’t. The French sometimes get pissed at Americans, but if they eat at Paul, they just might be justified. Le Moo.