Maison Alyzee — The Newest Hot-Spot Patisserie on the Peninsula

Presenting the Passiano (and the chocolate tart in the back) at the new Maison Alyzee.

Presenting the Passiano (and the chocolate tart in the back) at the new Maison Alyzee.

 

Owner Laurent Pellet makes no bones about what sets his Maison Alyzee in downtown Mountain View apart from other Bay Area bakeries.

Its heritage is unequivocally French — from the Lyon-born Pellet to the three French pastry chefs who moved to the United States just for this endeavor.

Oui, oui.

Since opening two weeks ago, the place has been inundated. So much so, that it had to up its baking to double the number of croissants, kouign-amanns and other viennoierie after just the second day.

And that’s saying something because it’s directly across the street from competitor, Alexander’s Patisserie.

Head Pastry Chef Jean-Victor Bellaye who had never been to California before taking this job.

Head Pastry Chef Jean-Victor Bellaye who had never been to California before taking this job.

Pellet, who was a chief financial officer for Sony for many years, longed for an authentic French patisserie when he moved to the Bay Area. So, he decided to start one, himself, and named it after his youngest daughter.

He looked high and low in France until he found the perfect chefs to hire: Head Pastry Chef Jean-Victor Bellaye, who worked at Michelin three-starred Le Bristol Palace and Michelin two-starred Grand Vefour; Pastry Sous Chef Xan Billiotte who trained at Maison Adam, a 1660 patisserie renowned for its macarons; and Pastry Sous Chef Gerald Chahine, who apprenticed at revered Lauderee and worked at Michelin three-starred La Mediterranee.

The display counter.

The display counter.

The signature levain.

The signature levain.

I had a chance to visit the charming spot last week, when I was invited in for taste. With outside cafe tables with wicker chairs, and a expansive marble counter inside, it definitely possesses a Parisian air.

Bellaye uses French butter, and it really shows in the croissants ($4.50), which are deeply brown, crisp and have a profound richness without being greasy at all on the palate. The kouign-amanns ($5) are quite different here. They are more of a beehive shape and barely sweet. They don’t have those crackly sugary layers like that of B. Patisserie in San Francisco. They’re more like a croissant with just a hint of sugar on the outside.

Pastry Sous Chef Gerald Chahine, who makes the macarons.

Pastry Sous Chef Gerald Chahine, who makes the macarons.

Pastry Sous Chef Xan Billiotte making laminated dough.

Pastry Sous Chef Xan Billiotte making laminated dough.

The refrigerated pastries ($7 to $10.50) are beautiful to behold. The chocolate tart, a wedge of entremet stacked with layers of different chocolate fillings with a crunchy bottom cookie crust, will salve any chocoholic’s craving.

It’s understandable why the Passiano is a best-seller. It’s the first thing that your eye catches in the case, what with its striking sunny yellow church-onion-dome shape in honor of Pellet’s part-Russian heritage. It’s a tangy, airy bomb of passion fruit with a center of blackberry cake and jam.

The kouign-amann (front) and croissant (back).

The kouign-amann (front) and croissant (back).

The macarons ($2.50) are mighty in flavor, especially the pistachio that hits you over the head with its nutty taste.

Maison Alyzee also offers savory items, including quiche Lorraine ($7), salads, sandwiches, and even a decadent foie gras & toast with fig chutney ($24). There’s also a fine selection of teas direct from Paris, as well as Champagne and sparkling wine, to enjoy.

It all adds up to an unabashedly sweet time.

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More: Alexander’s Patisserie

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