« JB's Italian Grille | Main | La Zacatecana »

La Baguette

La BaguetteIn a word: Authentic.

The specs: #0432
Address, hours & details via Isthmus; reviews at Cap Times, Isthmus, Decider, La Baguette on Urbanspoon

Latest La Baguette news and reviews

JM ate the ham and cheese sandwich, a brioche, and an apple juice.
Nichole ate the tuna fish sandwich and took a loaf of olive bread home.
The bill was $20, or $10/person.
JM gave La Baguette a B+; Nichole gave La Baguette an A- (see our grading rubric).

La Baguette is the real thing. We stepped into this Oneida County transplant and heard only French behind and before the counter. We waited quite a while for a conversation to wend down, but it persisted. After a time, another server came up to take our order.

The order-taking was brusque to the point of perfunctory, projecting an "are you done yet?" air though closing time was far away. This frazzled us and precluded a splurge on one of the gorgeous tartlets, Napoleons, and other pastries.

Ham sandwich

Olive loaf

Here's the thing: who orders a tuna fish sandwich at a French bakery? Only the victim of an analysis-paralysis aneurysm. The less said about that mess the better. Thankfully a thick slice of the olive bread, crusty and fragrant with black pepper, redeemed the experience. As did one bite of the ham and cheese sandwich, which was smoky, chewy and delicious.

Bottom line: if you have even a sliver more spine than us when faced with Gallic impatience with Anglo-Saxon indecision, you will reap the rewards of an excellent bakery ne plus ultra.


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Dieu merci for the perceived standoffishness! They're actually all very nice--I suspect you might have fallen victim to the lack of English subtlety from a native Francophone.

But if not for that brusque quality, you would definitely have ordered pastries, and then you would definitely have given La Baguette double-A's, and then it would definitely have to close!

My memory is that tuna salad sandwich is actually a pretty typical thing to find in a sandwich shop in France. Looking forward to giving this place a try.

We ate there yesterday and loved both the food and the attention to detail. Even something as simple as a tomato basil soup came with a range of condiments such as croutons, shredded cheese and a mini pitcher of cream all arranged in a mise en place to customize your soup perfectly.

And as you would expect, their bread is amazing.

Brusque is the perfect word to describe the service I get from one of the servers there (but it's only just the one woman, everyone else is as nice as can be). Fortunately for me, I just ignore it because their stuff is sooooo good. The quiche is wonderfully creamy (and a very generous portion, at that), and I have yet to have a pastry I haven't loved.

I like to make a breakfast sandwich using a couple of slices the bacon cheese bread - très magnifique!

Funny; this is the same kind of service we've gotten at our "favorite" (read: only) French bakery in Cedar Rapids. We go there because, hello, pastries full of awesome, but the woman is so beyond no-nonsense!

Example: Lunch closes at 2; they're open until 4 for bakery items. We show up at 2:01 and politely ask the woman if the kitchen is still open.

"Eet's after 2! I don't know what eet ees, but everyone sinks zey can just show up whenever on ze weekends, but, you know, we wake up at ze same time every day." (This end refrain now has a permanent spot in our lexicon.)

The next time we go there she's at it again, joking with her regular customers (a young family with new baby who has obviously made a special trip to be spoken to in their native French) but endlessly berating them about being there after 2. I think it was 1:45.

And we put up with it, of course. Damn those chocolate brioches.

I want you to know I just love your website. I moved from Madison 20 years ago to go to college in New York City. I lived in NYC for 10 years and have been in Boston for 10 years.

I come home to Waunakee 2 or 3 times a year and before I come home I always check out your site to see where my family and I will be eating.

Thank you for what you do.

It is a great service to many!

Hello! I, too, have really enjoyed reading your blog over the years. My fiancé and I often try (or don't try!) restaurants based on your comments.

After 6 years in Madison, my fiancé and I will be moving to Minneapolis next month. Do either of you (or any or your readers) have recommendations for good food blogs for the Minneapolis area? Obviously, nothing will be as good as your blog, but we'll have to make do with what we can. Unless, of course, you guys want to move to MN and start all over again!

Thanks for all of your hard work/eating. It is very much appreciated!

This blog seems to be popular: http://www.twincitiesrestaurantblog.com/

Duluth Dish has great production value and seems to have some good content, too--if you're looking for food info in a slightly northern clime. I think they occasionally cover Twin Cities stuff.

Also: The Heavy Table.

Bah! That's the one I was trying to think of.

Check out Dara Moskowitz's blog and old City Pages articles for sure, she's amazing.

This place looks good. Can't wait to try it! Now I'm just (im)patiently waiting for your review of David Bacco Chocolats.

Thank you so much for all of the blog recommendations! We will put them to good use! :)

Restaurant Alma in Minneapolis served me one of the best meals I have ever had.

Amanda, the review of David Bacco is already done. Check under "D."

As for La Baguette, I love going there, even though the service is spotty. Check out their walnut-raisin bread next time you go...it's so good, you don't need to put anything on it.

Not so fast, Diana. David Bacco Chocolats was a late addition to the Eats list. You might have seen the "David" in David's Jamaican (a place to which everyone in Madison really should go at least once). But they haven't covered David Bacco yet.

I hope they call me when they're about to, 'cause damn. Thems some good chocolates.

Yes, I see now. I thought I remembered them reviewing a chocolatier; maybe I confused Bacco with Ambrosius (or read a review of him elsewhere).

Regarding food/restaurant blogs in Minneapolis--I would also recommend Renee and Steve's Restaurant Reviews (http://www.reneeandsteve.com/). We found them to be a useful source when we lived in Minneapolis!

Your reviews are fun to read, but you seem over-positive and a little gullible when it comes to alleged "authenticity" ... especially w/r/t asian restaurants.

Although La Baguette, it must be said, has some tasty stuff. The simple baguettes, I think, are best--perhaps because you can't get a decent baguette elsewhere in Madison.

The mise-en-scene of the place leaves a lot to be desired. It's not just the strip mall location, but the overlit and just too... open room they have for eating. I would only take out here.

Yeah, the fact that it's in a big space in a strip mall in Madison should definitely count against the authenticity of FRENCH BREADS MADE IN A FRENCH BAKERY OWNED BY ACTUAL FRENCH PEOPLE. Because if it's not in the shadow of the friggin' Eiffel Tower, it's incapable of being authentically French.

To say nothing of the fact that French expats actually congregate there.

And of course, "Asian restaurants"--oh, don't get me started on those Asians. If a person of Chinese heritage works in a Japanese sushi joint, it CAN NEVER REALLY BE "GOOD" SUSHI. And those Koreans! I tell you, who do they think they are, opening Korean restaurants and cooking Korean food in their own way? IT WASN'T LIKE THAT IN SEOUL.

Serenity now...

Wow, sensitive much? I said the food was good, just that the place was a bit ugly and overlit. Which is a subjective assessment, but, you know, visit and tell me otherwise.

It was hyperbole, Philip. But the old "authenticity" canard is tired and frustrating. Was your comment about gullibility solely concerned with "Asian restaurants"? If so, I wonder why you made the comment here. If it concerned the appraisal of La Baguette as "authentic," I wonder what your objection is. Does the lighting really determine authenticity?

I've been there on many occasions. I think the interior is sunny and open, like it would be in an outdoor patisserie if Wisconsin had winters the length and severity of France's. And the food is, in my opinion, better than good.

FYI - La Baguette is no longer accepting debit or credit cards - cash or check only.

Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear on this weblog until the author has approved them.

If you have a TypeKey or TypePad account, please Sign In.


Listen to The Corner Table podcast "Remembering Restaurants," aired December 24, 2020, where Chris and Lindsay talk with us "about the menus and memories left behind when restaurants go away."

Madison Food coverInfo about our book Madison Food: A History of Capital Cuisine is here, or read it for free thanks to the library - print & ebook.



About Follow madisonatoz on Twitter Contact
Blogroll Ad 
Free Blog
Read our book and food tour
Dish du jour Creative Commons License subscribe to RSS Subscribe
Memo to restaurants Bloggers' Rights at EFF Quizzes
Reflections BlogWithIntegrity.com Tip jar
Banner image by Kayla Morelli, Red Wheelbarrow Design