911 Seventh Ave.
between 57th/58th Sts.
This small boutique, owned by the adjacent Petrossian Restaurant, sells luxury foods -- caviar, smoked fish and foie gras, and exquisite pastries and breads. Prices reflect the rarity of the ingredients and the meticulousness of the preparations.
What's great: This is a place to buy pastries that are prepared (and priced!) like pieces of jewelry. But if you're responsible for bringing dessert to a small dinner party (a large one could provoke a financial spasm), this is the place to make your choice. Your host will be dazzled.
What to avoid: Nothing, really, as long as you're prepared for the luxury of the product selection. The caviar selection is excellent but you can get better prices for the same quality at places like Zabar's.
What to know: Their brioche loaf, which is sold as either a full or half loaf, is one of the greatest bakery items sold in all of the world. A slice of this lightly toasted with a little (you don't need much because the bread is so rich) good butter can make you cry with joy. Use it for a crab or lobster salad open-faced sandwich and you've made a simple but profound first course.