Review: La Perle Noire, Harlem’s New Bakery on the Block

While the Soup Man has left us, La Perle Noire is looking to make a lasting impression on the neighborhood…

Having left work early I decided to take stroll down the 130’s and find out what all the fuss on U.F. was about concerning La Perle Noire. Many of our commenters already began lambasting the place based on the posted hours which we all learned were the hours of the former tenant, M&T Bank. I walked in. And what do you know…Johnny!!! Yes this is not a pseudonym, Johnny Celestin is one of the partners of the new establishment.

A quick scan of the location showed this to be a trendy setup, much like TJ Bakery on Seventh ave with the obligatory exposed brick wall, hip Ikea-esque wood cabinets, and stainless steel counter with Spanish tiles along the facade. I honestly wasn’t sure what order as there was no menu ready for public consumption. I did see a sandwich bar behind the counter and a grilling machine which lead me to believe the place was already serving sandwiches. Also, a young lady (who later introduced herself as another partner) had begun to prepare a beautiful leafy salad while I was still trying to decide what to eat. If I could have salads like that made for me everyday I could do a low-carb regimen with no problem. In any event, I had a heavy lunch so I targeted the sweets. My eyes went straight to the fruit tarts. While many people judge bakeries on the overrated velvet cake (please don’t hate) I like to take a sample of the fruit tarts. Fruit tarts are often sitting there refrigerating quite lonely in almost every bakery I go to. These that have been left behind are my primary concern! I chose the raspberry fruit tart and ordered a latte as well. Everything was brought over to the table I was sitting at. The place is nicely spaced. With counter seating by the entrance, table seating along the midsection, and a plush chocolate brown leather couch to top off things in the back section, the place offers just the right ambiance to read your paper, do some blogging, or (the obvious) just have some coffee and pastries. The latte was a beautiful display; served in a swanky coffee mug with cinnamon doused froth on top. A robust cup of joe if I may say so! Well I just did! The fruit tart was heated ever so gently so as not to offend my taste buds. As I had a second stop to make on my little walk-through I paid my bill and began my exit strategy. Just $6.50 for both items was more than perfect. A couple folks came in-and-out to check out the new digs. They would look around and smile…promising quite sternly that they would return as bonafide customers at a later time. I asked the young lady about the menus. She told me they would be printing out the take-out menus within the next couple days as some items on the full menu were not yet available. I told her I’d be stopping by and hopefully taking a few snapshots with my real camera (not the cameraphone).

While the exodus of the Soup Man might have left a void on the block, La Perle Noire seems to have carved out a beautiful niche for themselves. There aren’t that many coffee shop/bakeries in the area and it seems to me like the folks from the Lenox and Lenox Grand will be pleased to have this little gem (as the name literally implies) in their proximity. The staff is quite friendly and the product is top notch (sandwich taste test still pending). This place has a lot of potential. In my own little world I would love to see a little jazz trio playing here from time to time ala Hue-man Bookstore. We’ll see what’s in store for this Black Pearl. I will definitely come back as I work just couple blocks away. Until the next time. I really hope everyone will stop by and check out the goods for themselves.


7 thoughts on “Review: La Perle Noire, Harlem’s New Bakery on the Block

  1. I suppose that in the absence of another “stop the drummers at Marcus Garvey/Mt Morris” debate my little bakery review will have to suffice :)To the stoop i say!

  2. Good point 1.

    I feel better and can now sleep knowing the residents of the Lenox and Lenox Grand are pleased.

    I was very worried for them….should they need any cotton picked, clothes washed, or whatever can be done to further their pleasure, just give me a shout.

    Step-N-Fetch It

  3. I certainly agree with writer #1’s comments. There’s alwasy so much attention given to the new comers of the community. By this I mean both black and white “new comers”. I’ve lived in Harlem (Lenox Terrace for 22 years). I as well as the ENTIRE community welcome the new cafe.

  4. Hello Larry

    that tired, predictable “hate whitey” comment rings true in Harlem. What most seem to realize, it comes from most of the home-owning residents.

  5. #1 sounds like a Curbed poster who always rants about the Lenox/Lenox Grand being empty and how Harlem north of 125th isn’t developing- throw in the oh so tired but predictable ‘hate whitey’ comment and it’s just another lame retread argument he/she plagarized from others. Must be tired of posting on curbed I guess.
    Anyway illoquentgent – nice post – glad to get the review of these new spots opening up – hopefully by getting the word out they’ll drum up enough business to survive as long as the food/drinks are good and reasonably priced.

  6. well my friend i have not painted myself into any corner. i think that if you have read my previous posts and contributions to UF you would find my views to be a lot more centered than what you have implied.

    i think it is of little eification to readers (and the community) when some people try to sensationalize things and make them about race when it is clearly not.i pointed out these buildings as new developments in neighborhood. i had read comments before in other blogs and spoken to people who live in the lenox(not white, in case you’re wondering) who were talking about new businesses that usually follow new condo buildings much in the way of NYSC & Starbucks with the Langston, etc. it was a wink in their direction. i could have just as easily pointed to the new condos being developed on 7th ave.
    furthermore, i think it is understood(or it should be given the audience i write to) that those benefit most (and first) are those who have already lived in tne neighborhood for years. i am one such person.

    however, if perhaps you misinterpreted my mentioning of these two but buildings as a denigration of the rest of the community perhaps you had agenda well before you read my piece. for that i apologize. i am much obliged to “write myself” out of any other corner you try paint me into to. and thank you for complementing my writing.

  7. >There aren’t that many coffee shop/bakeries in the area and it seems to me like the folks from the Lenox and Lenox Grand will be pleased to have this little gem(as the name literally implies) in their proximity.

    I read this to say, “The White people will be happy”. Why are you singling out these 2 dwellings, one of which has no “folks” (the Lenox Grand has no people).

    For example, there are a lot more people in buildings that have closer proximity like Lenox Terrace on 132nd St. And what about the people that live in buildings on the very block of this new cafe? Why do they not rise to the level of being mentioned, whereas you do for “the folks from the Lenox and Lenox Grand”?

    You’re a very good writer, lets see you write yourself out of the corner you just painted yourself in.

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