Flour Butter Sugar

Maison Kayser butters up the Upper East Side

We can't always get what we want.

But the Upper East Side has gotten exactly what it needs: a very good bakery in the form of Maison Kayser.

Hailing from Paris, the land of all that is holy regarding flour, butter and sugar, Maison Kayser specializes in bread, Viennoiserie and all manners of pastries.

Kayser's breads spurn commercial yeasts in favor of the deeper tang of a natural sourdough starter, such as in the Epi East Side ($3), a branched baguette, where each chain of the wheatlike stalk demands another pat of butter.

The pastries are classically beautiful and pull no punches: almond financiers ($3.75), perky lemon tarts ($4.75) and a praline cream-packed Paris-Brest ($5.75).

And for when you can't decide between bread and pastry, there is the croissant-hybrid plié ($3.25) filled with egg custard and chocolate.

Although the space around the L-shaped case can become uncomfortably thronged, the Breton striped-shirted attendants are helpful and nimble.

For now, the erratic quality of the savory food in the adjoining bistro-café is best left to ladies who lunch. Fine by us, as it leaves more room for pastry.

Maison Kayser, 1294 Third Ave. (at E. 74th St.); 212-744-3100 or maison-kayser.com