I am a huge French pastry snob. Having worked in an incredible pastry shop (a patisserie for those in the know) for three years and lived in France, I am incredibly hard to please. I know my way around a petit-four and I can spot a good Napoleon from a mile away. Don’t get me wrong, I love Mallomars and Cool Whip too, but pastries hold a particularly special place in my heart.
With all of the French ex-pats, diplomats, and generally fancy pants people living in the D.C. area you’d think that good pastries would be easy to find.
Sadly, you would be wrong. There are a few good places in the District, but I’ve had no luck finding exceptional — or even acceptable — pastries in Northern Virginia. Good desserts are a dime a dozen at high-end grocery stores like Wegman’s, but honest-to-goodness European-style pastries are elusive.
Imagine, then, my surprise and delight in discovering Silva’s Patisserie in Vienna. I stopped in today to pick up a few — ok, six — pastries.
I sampled my purchases at lunchtime today and was so impressed that I called the chef to compliment him. At dinner time tonight I finished off my treats and confirmed my first impression: these are some damn tasty pastries.
The miniature pastries are $1.49 each, and there were fifteen or so to choose from. When I requested one not currently in the selection, the chef said he’d be happy to make it for me. All of Silva’s pastries are made on the premises, including the creams, crusts, and even the lemon curd (I’m not sure what goes into making curd, but the chef seemed pretty proud that he made his own.)
[Brace yourself, I'm about to start gushing.]
My favorites included a fabulous and innovative dulce de leche cream mini-tart, a chocolate “mushroom” with a truffle-like filling and wafer bottom, and a flourless chocolate cake with chocolate mousse filling. All were amazing, but the mini creme brule surpassed them all. Served in an aluminum tin, the creme brulee was the perfect consistency and vanilla flavor with a crispy top layer. Unfortunately the Napoleons had just gone into the oven when I arrived.
One word of advice: don’t waste your time or stomach space on an eclair. Silva’s was fine, but it’s relatively easy to find a good eclair; you can thaw a decent one from the Weight Watchers section at Giant.
Silva’s shop is small, but bright and new. Silva herself worked behind the counter and was very friendly and helpful. She’s the proud mama of the owner and chef, Harry Sarkees, who was formerly the pastry chef at the Kennedy Center.
Unfortunately these pastries are the antithesis of vegan; there’s dairy and milk in just about everything.
If you’re looking for a doughnut or a muffin, head to the grocery store or Krispy Kreme. If you’re looking for a dainty and delicious piece of art, head to Silva’s.
167 Glyndon St. SE, Vienna,
Hours: daily, 6 a.m.-8 p.m.
Specialties: European-style miniature pastries, organic breads.