Madagascar Birthmarks at French Riviera Bakery

This fabulous little French Bakery is one of the coolest hangouts in the Galleria

"Let's see," I said.

The next thing I knew, Bebout was on his feet beside the table unfastening his belt. Discreetly pointing his ass toward the wall, he quickly dropped his blue jeans to show us a two-and-a-half-inch café au lait-colored birthmark just below the leg line of his tighty-whities.

"It does look like Madascar," the ever-dignified Herd said, adjusting his rimless glasses to get a better look. Luckily, there was no one in the far end of the restaurant where we were seated. Otherwise I am quite sure Bebout would have been arrested.

Make sure to ask for your sandwich on a baguette.
daniel kramer
Make sure to ask for your sandwich on a baguette.

Location Info


French Riviera Bakery and Cafe

3100 Chimney Rock Road
Houston, TX 77056

Category: Restaurant > Bakery

Region: Galleria


Hours:7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, and 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays.

Pâté sandwich: $6.25

Tuna salad sandwich: $6

Omelet: $5.75

Napoleon: $3

Double espresso: $3.25

3032 Chimney Rock, 713-783-3264.

The only disappointing sandwich I tried at French Riviera Bakery was a roast beef with lettuce and tomato on focaccia bread. The focaccia was too thick and too soft on the bottom. I discarded the bottom half of the sandwich and ate it open-faced.

Bebout raved about his pâté sandwich and the hot lentil soup he sampled with it. The menu on the wall behind the counter offers Swiss, ham and Swiss, ham and butter, mortadella, turkey, salami, tuna salad, chicken salad, egg salad, grilled chicken and hot dog sandwiches. Weirdly, Herd ordered the hot dog. (Who gets a hot dog in a French bakery?) He said it was so strange, he had to try it.

The gamble paid off. The fat porky wiener was served on an excellent crusty roll with Dijon mustard, lettuce, tomato and pickles. I can't say I have ever tasted a hot dog quite like it, but I would gladly eat another one right now.

We were all blown away by the desserts. At the bakery case, it's the chocolate éclair that catches your eye. First ­runner-up is the overstuffed cream puff. Both were quite good. But the big surprise was the innocuous­looking powdered sugar-topped Napoleon. The rich rectangle featured several layers of crunchy pastry with lots of sweet, but not too sweet, Bavarian cream in between. The contrast of creamy and crunchy was absolutely sublime.

French Riviera Bakery isn't a trendy restaurant; it's just a bakery. And it's hardly a new discovery — it's been around for 30 years. But if you haven't been there lately, you owe yourself a treat.

On your way out, grab a loaf of bread to take home. The baguettes are wonderful, the boules are awesome and the semolina bread is very nice toasted. But the best of the lot is the big Italian-style "farmhouse" loaf. If you see one, grab it right away — they sell out fast.

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