Look out, Brooklyn: there’s a new bakery in town. Located in the old bookstore space on Smith Street between Dean and Pacific, Bien Cuit is serving up fresh bread, beautiful tarts, and a whole lot of service.
On our visit there, we couldn’t help but be charmed by the friendly and talkative counter staff, who led us through their selection. They have loaves of bread, which are so big that they’re sold by the loaf or the half loaf ($10/$6). They offer a variety of tarts, which are classically constructed but feature modern twists on traditional flavors; the one we tried was a lemon-basil meringue with fresh blueberries ($6), and another was made with white cherries and rose. They also offer traditional French pastries like croissants and pain au chocolat, as well as sandwiches, and the staff told us they’re adding items daily.
As for beverages, Bien Cuit has a nice espresso machine and four kinds of unsweetened iced tea, including Chocolate Mint and Strawberry Kiwi.
The baker behind Bien Cuit is Zachary Golper, who, according to their website, “first learned the art of bread-making in rural Oregon from a man who had built a single deck oven and baked using no electricity or yeast.” He’s since worked everywhere from Vegas to Provence. According to the New York Times, he and his wife, Kate Wheatcroft, had been eying New York from his former position at Le Bec-Fin in Philadelphia, and this is their first foray into the city’s dining scene.
The bakery has a Brooklyn-industrial design with lots of open space and 8 to 10 tables for dining in. Their counter display is beautiful, but the prices are sometimes difficult to read. That might be on purpose — Bien Cuit definitely runs on the high end of the bakery price scale. On the other hand, everything we ate was delicious, and the cheerful staff had us wanting to buy everything in the place by the end. Today is the bakery’s ninth day open, so stop by, say hello, and find yourself a little tasty indulgence.
Bien Cuit, 120 Smith Street (between Dean and Pacific)