There are a lot of good things about Paris, but service isn't at the top of the list. So it was really amazing to experience the attentiveness at Carl Marletti. I felt like I'd walked into Louis Vuitton, not a patisserie. I was dealing with those drilled in the art of the customer experience - like I'd stepped out of Paris and into Tokyo.
I learned about the place from Little Chan's blog a long time back but it took me a while to get my lazy bones out there. I shouldn't have waited so long. In early '09 they won an award for having the best lemon tart in Paris, which I was more than happy to try. I cannot crown it - I haven't tried the rest in Paris. I plan to, though this one has set the bar pretty high. It was tart first and sweet second, the way I like it.
I hesitated about buying the caramel eclair, Mr. Genin has probably already cornered that market. A couple of bites in, I changed my mind. There's room for another favorite. That raised spine of alternating colors is a nice touch - a thin bead of sweetness that kicks in after a few chews.
If you're not a fan of caramel or lemon, don't worry - they have something for everyone. Their website is really well-done, with a photo and description of each treat. I studied it for a few minutes before my visit so I could appear cool and well-informed for once in my life.
It's a small place, with no seating - takeout only. This is a shot of the whole place, almost. Not shown is the door at the back, through which you can see 2-3 chefs in the kitchen, baking and painting the goods. This young lady took my order, handed them to a gentleman who then meticulously boxed them for travel. Throughout, it was all smiles and deference and professionalism. They were even careful to make way for my photo-taking, which was something I've never experienced.
Another bonus if you go on a Saturday - right across the street is the bustling market on rue Mouffetard.
51, rue Censier