Second Helpings

Andre’s Confiserie Suisse

My sugar-fueled romps through Emogene Patisserie et Cafe (see review) put me in mind of another place in the neighborhood, a longtime bastion of the patissier's and chocolatier's art. Andre's Confiserie Suisse crouches on a corner outside of the standard Creeker territory, so it has a bit of that "hidden gem" quality that guidebook writers and amateur food sleuths love to mention. But the fact is, Andre's has been in this spot for decades, and no one with a taste for good pastry, great chocolate or the unique cuisine of Switzerland seems to have any trouble sniffing it out. Andre's does lunch only, from a limited menu and in a rather strange style. Upon entering, you step to the counter, ask what's being served (on a visit last week, it was a choice between beef tips in gravy over fettuccine noodles or a wonderful croûte aux champignons served over the house's own bread, baked fresh every morning), give your order, then stand in line along with every European grandmother in the city and wait until a table becomes available. Do not get discouraged: The line moves surprisingly fast considering the median age, and I love the Andre's crowd because these ladies know how to eat: butter and heavy cream, spatzli and paprikash, and solidly European sauces and flavors that would have made Escoffier proud are the rule here. If you're not up for a full lunch, Andre's also has a retail bakery counter staffed by smiling servers who actually know the difference between a tartlet and a Napoleon, a case dedicated to nothing but cakes and tarts and kugel, a cooler full of pies and fondue cheese, and a veritable treasure chest of artisan chocolates, caramels and truffles made by the Bollier family at Andre's original location in Kansas City, which opened back in 1955.