4:56 PM

109-01 72nd Road
Forest Hills, NY 11375
(347) 644-5606

If any of you readers have ever asked yourself "why does Manhattan get all the Le Pain Quotidien's?" you need hunger for one no longer. Now, we have one. It may be called La Boulangerie, but it's basically the same thing. Or it will be once it's up and running to full capacity. Apparently, the owners figured that they'd have a slow start, what with being all hidden away down a nondescript street and without so much as a website to call their own. But if the woman behind the counter's tone of voice was any indication, they were dead wrong.

Silly. Didn't they know Forest Hills has been itching for a real upscale French bakery for years?

The hours are still limited. They close at 4pm. When I got there, they were wiped clean. I got the last sandwich, there were only a few breads and, when I asked to see the menu, I was told that it wasn't ready yet, but would eventually have, in addition to their breads, sandwiches, paninis and soups. So I bought that lonely sandwich, ordered a cappuccino, and grabbed a seat. Jazz music played pleasantly. The interior is bright, with light woods and high ceilings. The stroller set will appreciate the bookshelf of children's books and available high chairs. Forest Hills is beginning to feel a little more Park Slopey.

A large communal table, the kind you might be seated at should you go to that aforementioned Le Pain Quotidien, takes up a third of the small dining area. All told, you might seat twenty patrons in here. When, not if, La Boulangerie gets its ball rolling to speed, I expect that the brunch crowd will have quite the wait.

La Boulangerie is, first and foremost, a bakery. Large glass windows open the clean white kitchen to both diners and passers-by. It's a relaxing place where you can go, have an espresso, read the Times, and smile in the knowledge that Forest Hills is finally becoming a little more refined.

The cappuccino was $3.25. The sandwich, which was very good, was $6.50.

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