Gran Paris Bakery: An Insult to Taste and Texture

Stick to what you know.
Stick to what you know.
Photo by Ily Goyanes

​When you walk through the double glass doors of Gran Paris Bakery near NW 30th Avenue an Seventh Street in Miami, your optic nerves are instantly assaulted by over-size, Technicolor pictures of the myriad dishes available for your alleged enjoyment. Unfortunately, you are probably better off eating the pictures than any of the items displayed in them.

We are willing to grant a couple of allowances to account for the fact that we literally became nauseous after sampling a wide array of the bakery's pastelitos. For one, maybe in the morning, when the pastries first come out of the oven, they don't look like food leftover from la revolución, as they did at 7 p.m. when we sat down to eat (Gran Paris closes at 9 p.m.). The other major allowance is that its selection of sweet pastries and cakes are actually pretty good. The moral of the story? It doesn't always pay to diversify.

The pastelitos ($0.85 to $1.75) were an insult to taste and texture: dry, stale, and tasteless. This includes such Cuban bakery staples as el pastelito de carne, cangrejo de jamon, and empanada de pollo. And do not even get us started on the croquetas. To keep what could be a long story short, the croqueta we tried to eat had seen better days. We also won't mention the Gran Paris version of tortilla Española, except to say that we had a small debate with the friendly but otherwise inept young lady behind the counter as to whether the item could be considered either a tortilla or Española.

Perhaps the Florida Panthers would be interested in purchasing these.
Perhaps the Florida Panthers would be interested in purchasing these.
Photo by Ily Goyanes

Wondering if the rest of the food was as unpalatable as the pastelitos, we ordered a pan con bistec ($5.95) and some dulces ($1 to $3). The pan con bistec was okay, but nothing to purchase a calling card for. Interestingly enough, the sandwich contained more lettuce than we have ever seen in a non-vegetarian sandwich.

On the other hand the sweets, which run the gamut from cookies to flan, were tasty and fresh. Which brings us to the second moral in this story: When you do one thing really well, stick to it.

The vacuous young lady behind the counter did not find it odd that I would take two bites out of each pastelito (one to taste, two to confirm) and return it to the red plastic basket. At least she didn't ask if everything was okay, even after I asked her how long the stuff had been sitting there and mentioned that the croqueta was unsafe for canine consumption. She fleshed out her impeccable service by serving us an empanada with the wrong filling (thank God I'm not allergic to spinach!) and double charged us for a couple of items on the bill.

Owned by the Pla family for forty years, Gran Paris Bakery, like its croquetas, has seen better days.

Gran Paris Bakery
3026 NW 7 Street, Miami

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