The bad thing about ever denying yourself anything, is that you’ll crave it even more and overindulge when given the chance. Case in point, the end of last year, I decided to reduce my carbohydrate intake. Subsequently, two weeks ago, I finally gave in to my cravings and ate three Chinese pastries immediately after eating a bowl of pho. Yeah, not so good. So instead of delaying the inevitable, I decided to forgo the carb diet nonsense, and have been happily spending my lunches at Sullivan Street Bakery, aka Carb Heaven.
Jim Lahey, the owner of Sullivan Street Bakery, is absolutely the master of bread. I’m not exactly sure what he does, but the bread at Sullivan Street, specifically the flauto, always has the perfect balance of crispy and chewy. It’s utter genius.
Around noon, the crusty flauto are magically transformed into scrumptious little sandwiches. The speck sandwich, called the Speckoroni ($6), is made of speck, roasted red peppers, fontina cheese, and garlic aioli. It’s simple, with only a few ingredients, yet it’s insanely good. I realize, sometimes simple foods make the best foods; especially when it involves bread from the Sullivan Street Bakery.
However, my favorite sandwich, as of today, is the Panino Cubano ($6). Far from an authentic Cuban sandwich, this sandwich isn’t pressed, and is made with Prosciutto di Parma, house-made roasted pork, gruyere cheese, mayonnaise, house-made mustard, aioli, and pickles. The combination of prosciutto and house-made roast pork is tasty, but the house-made mustard with whole mustard seeds and garlic aioli really take this sandwich to another level. When I got back to the office, I noticed there was some aioli on my new blouse, but to be honest, I really didn’t care. The sandwich was worth it.
Although filling as the small sandwiches are, I always leave with another baked good. I’ve come to believe it’s impossible to leave with only one item. The bakery is filled with irresistible little treats.
Sullivan Street Bakery’s savory brioche ($2.50) is an eggy brioche with melted mascarpone and chucks of prosciutto. It’s covered with melted cheese, but the bread still manages to be light and airy.
In contrast, Sullivan Street Bakery’s sweet brioche, the Brioche al Frutto Stagionale ($2.50), covered in a sugary melange of dried cherries, raisins, walnuts, and mascarpone, didn’t live up to it’s beautiful appearance. Unlike the savory brioche, the Brioche al Frutto Stagionale tasted dry and a bit stale.
The Pasqualino di Riso (rice pudding tart, $1.75), however, did not dissapoint. The tarts look like Chinese egg tarts, but taste completely different. Imagine a really nice rice pudding made with actual vanilla beans (not extract!) and cardamom baked into a crumbly buttery tart. It was delicious, and cooked perfectly so you could see each grain of rice. Straight from the oven, I bet these tarts would taste quite blissful.
There will definitely be more posts about Sullivan Street Bakery in the future. I say f*ck low carb diets! Sure I gained a pound or two since Jim Lahey entered my life, but I like to think, ‘I’m not fatter, I’m jollier!’ OK, maybe I’ll go jogging now.
Sullivan Street Bakery
533 West 47th Street (betw 10th and 11th Ave)
New York, NY 10036