Best Bakery: Crumble & Flake Patisserie

Lines went out the door from day one last spring at Capitol Hill’s Crumble & Flake Patisserie. The crowds have only recently begun to let up, at least a little—not surprising given that pastry chef Neil Robertson’s background includes a stint at Canlis. Crumble & Flake is a jewel box of a place, with no counters or tables and inside space for only a few customers at a time. In the showcases you’ll be tempted by such treats as crunchy kouign-amman (like a croissant folded into itself), perfectly caramelized canelés, chewios (like a chewy Oreo), colorful macarons, and cream puffs. What makes those cream puffs extra-special? They’re filled to order, typically with chocolate, vanilla, and another, ever-changing flavor, like caipirinha or black currant. Robertson’s croissants might not be the best in town (if forced to choose, I’d crown Besalu’s), but they’re still high quality; perhaps better, and certainly unique, is his smoked-paprika and cheddar croissant. With baked goods this delicious, I’m convinced that Crumble & Flake was so named because you’ll want to eat every crumble and flake that falls onto your plate—or your lap.

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