Pitchoun — a French Bakery by Pershing Square

24 Jun

Pershing Square is an odd place.  Framed by the Jewelry District and the Biltmore Hotel, it is an inhospitable island of urban blight. (Read up for more info: KCET history of Pershing Square; Thoughts on redevelopment.)  But a couple new food places are popping up, including the very ambitious Pitchoun! Bakery.  Opened by actual French bakers with an apparently unlimited budget, does Pitchoun! live up to its aspirations to become a destination in the nascent Downtown dining scene?

Pitchoun! is well-positioned as a full-service bakery and cafe. The place is large and envisions lots of people coming through. The bakery program is full-scale, with everything from macarons and croissants and kouign amanns, to baguettes and boules. There is food, but somewhere in the middle between Starbucks and Bottega Louie.  Expect sandwiches and salads and some grab-and-go stuff.

It’s very spacious at this point. We’ll see if they get enough business to start packing in more tables.

The real question is how are their baked goods. Unfortunately, they are OK but not great.

I got a kouign amann and a chocolate croissant. I probably should have gotten something from a different genre, but these are my go-tos when I’m testing out how good a baker is.

A side view of the croissant shows what’s wrong. Have you ever seen such a high croissant?

Look at these ridiculous air bubbles. It lacked the flakiness of a great chocolate croissant, like at Proof or Maison Giraud.

The kouign amann wasn’t bad, but wasn’t great. It was puffier than the better examples around town and lacked the caramelization underneath.

To top it all off, they chose to go with Philadephia’s La Colombe for their coffee. Again, it’s not bad, but seems a strange choice when Stumptown and Blue Bottle are roasting less than a mile away. I got an americano to give it another try since it had been a few years since I had La Colombe in Philly. This didn’t change my mind. It’s OK, but is similar to LA Mill in being kind of between Second and Third Wave coffee.

Anyways, I wouldn’t be opposed to checking Pitchoun! out again. But, unlike the nearby Semi Sweet Bakery, I’m not going to go out of my way for Pitchoun.

Pitchoun Bakery
545 S Olive Street
Los Angeles, CA 90013
Phone: 213.689.3240


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