After our visit to my cousins’ new bakery, Bien Cuit, on opening day in July, which I wrote about here, we were eager to return but didn’t manage to get there again until mid-September. J, M, and I headed out to Brooklyn on a pleasant Saturday a little after noon. We planned to stop first for a spot of lunch at Mile End, which is near the bakery and has gotten raves for its smoked meat, and then head to Bien Cuit for dessert. But we immediately ran into a slight snag. The Bergen Street stop on the F train is a block-and-a-half from the bakery, but when we got down to the platform, we saw notices posted that said the train was not stopping at several stations, including Bergen. Instead, we had to get off at Jay Street and board a bus (provided free by the MTA) which let us off at Bergen though several blocks further away from the bakery and Mile End. By the time we got to Mile End, the wait for a table was half an hour. Since we were starving, we decided to go to Bar Tabac, located on the next corner from the bakery. We were seated immediately and had a pleasant meal of French bistro fare. Then, it was on to Bien Cuit.
My Cousin Kate wasn’t there, but Zach was. Getting their new venture off the ground has had them keeping very long hours and, of course, a baker does a lot of his work while the rest of us are still tucked into bed. So, we chatted with Zach only briefly before he left to go home and get some sleep. A nice surprise was the chance to meet his mom, who was visiting from her home in the Midwest. When she learned who I was, she exclaimed, “So, you’re the one who wrote that wonderful piece about the bakery on your blog!” How could I not like her!
The display cases were more stocked and had a larger variety of items than were available during our initial visit. Perusing the pastry selections, I spotted some financiers. Oooh, I adore financiers! M and I decided to share one. The center of the very moist little oval cake held a winning combination: a layer of what I think was raspberry jam covered by a layer of chocolate ganache. Ambrosial!
J was too full from lunch to have a sweet, so she just had coffee. But she did take some sweets home. M had a cappuccino, and I had a very nice strawberry-peach spritzer. I noticed later on our way out that they’re now carrying Virgil’s sodas: cream and root beer, both regular and sugar-free.
We again took home a boatload of stuff. No question about those financiers. We took two. All the other pastries looked so luscious, it was hard to pick. We finally settled on three tarts: mango, lemon meringue, and peach and raspberry. We shared them for dessert after several meals. The crusts were flaky and the fillings seriously flavorful. Confection perfection!
Almond cookies and raspberry sandwich cookies. Yum! I polished most of them off myself.
An almond croissant was as excellent as the one we had the first time. No stinting on the almond flavor. We also tried a plain croissant, which was flaky and buttery as it should be.
Two pizzettas made for a very tasty lunch. On one, a goat cheese and olives topping; on the other, teardrop tomatoes, fiori sardo, Lagrima olive oil, and fleur de sel.
From the wide selection of breads, we chose two items that weren’t available last time: a half-dozen Parker House rolls (very nice), and half of a Miche loaf. The Miche’s dough is a blend of rye and wheat flours and is fermented for 55 days. An amazing bread! The firm crust houses an interior that has excellent texture and superb flavor. Delicious eaten plain or slathered with butter. I also discovered that it was the perfect vehicle for knoblewurst sandwiches as the bread held up extremely well when the fatty meat was piled onto it.
Finally, we had to have another jar of Christine Ferber’s fabulous confiture since the two we bought last time were long finished. I’ve read that Daniel Boulud’s Epicerie Boulud, on the Upper West Side, is carrying her confitures for $19 each. At Bien Cuit, you will pay only $18. Well, o.k., that’s still expensive. But as I said last time, totally worth the splurge!
The breads and pastries, indeed all the baked goods, are “très français.” So, head on over to Bien Cuit for a delicious taste of France on Smith Street.
To see all the photos of this visit to Bien Cuit, click here.
120 Smith Street, Boerum Hill, Brooklyn, NY 11211