Well Done, Bien Cuit!

PC: Yelp

PC: Yelp

After visiting Bien Cuit, you’ll never look at pastries the same way again. Is it possible to love something without even trying it yet? That’s how I felt about this little bakery.

To preface this review, I have a short story…
As most of my family/friends know, I hardly ever watch TV. But when I do it’s usually a show about food of some sorts. This brings me to my next point: “Unique Sweets” featured Bien Cuit on one of their episodes and whenever I watch these shows, I make sure to make a mental note to visit ESPECIALLY when it’s close by. Just from the images and descriptions, I knew I had to visit. Their featured item was the elusive Chocolate Almond Croissant… double baked in brandy. I’m such a visual person and was immediately enticed when watching the show. More or less, I was sold.

Bien Cuit, meaning “well done” is certainly appropriate. All of the desserts here are carefully crafted down to the very last bite. Upon arrival, the storefront is simple/minimalist and reflects the rustic nature of the inside. Although its spacious, there isn’t much seating to go around. I was there on a mission. My friend was cooking me dinner that night and I can never go empty-handed. So I asked the girl at the counter for suggestions (she was very helpful) and I ended up deciding on three pastries:

-Huckleberry Danish with Yuzu Curd, Huckleberry Jam: Flaky, tart and very flavorful. Those berries certainly packed a punch. This was my wildcard if you will. It’s hard to describe if you haven’t had this fruit before, so take a chance on it. It’s good.

-Apple Cardamom Danish with Pureed Apple and Cardamom Strudel: Second favorite of the night. I’m a HUGE fan of apple desserts so this was a win-win. The unique pairing of flavors certainly works.

-(The true star of Bien Cuit) Chocolate Almond Croissant/Twice-baked with Brandy: If you have to pick an item, CHOOSE THIS. You can thank me later. It’s everything a croissant should be — flaky, soft, buttery, nutty (from the almond paste)… you get the idea. And the fact that its baked in brandy? Say no more. It’s a true showstopper.

Bien Cuit-Assortment

Yes, Bien Cuit may be a tad bit on the pricier side. But I can guarantee the quality is there within every single bite. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

120 Smith St
Brooklyn, NY 11201

(718) 852-0200

biencuit.com

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The Little Uglyduckling

Uglyduckling is the newest addition to the many adorable shops and eateries along Smith St. This street is a favorite of mine — so naturally when searching for a nice place to grab a drink/grub after a crazy week at work, my friend and I wandered into Cobble Hill.

inside-uglyduckling

Only 2 weeks old, the Uglyduckling offers a diverse selection of American /Gastropub cuisine as well as a nice wall of craft beers on tap. It has a cool, hip vibe with the mismatch wooden panels on the wall, giant tv screens, vintage lighting and chalkboard artwork to name a few. There’s not a whole lot of seating but for the size of the place, they definitely utilize what space they have. We decided on sitting at the bar for dinner… and much to my surprise, they have bag hooks! Ladies (or gentlemen) your wishes have been granted. But in all seriousness, its a small but important perk.

I thought to myself, “what to choose, what to choose” when glancing at the beers along the wall. And then my eyes fell upon the Left Handed Brewing Co. NITRO MILK STOUT. I’ve been searching for this beer for the LONGEST time. So glad it’s at a bar nearby! And might I mentioned it was perfectly poured and delicious. As for the menu, very interesting items. I ended up choosing the Chicken and Waffles ($16). I was intrigued at the combination of the classic dish but with a side of spicy aioli. The buttermilk waffle was fluffy and equally crispy as the corn-flake crusted chicken. The spicy aioli was a nice touch, although I’m not sure if everyone would like that combination of flavors. But all in all, my dish was great. I would definitely order it again.

chickenwaffles-uglyduckling

tap-uglyducklingNot only was the food tasty, but the staff was personable and welcoming. Most of the staff are from Ireland so I immediately struck up a few conversations about my good ol’ days studying abroad in Limerick. Made for some great banter. Next time… my eyes are on the Pork Belly & Quail Egg Burger. Wishing the staff of Uglyduckling the best of luck! I’ll be visiting again very soon.

P.S. They’re creating a brunch menu and a happy hour which should be finalized within a week or so. So keep your eyes peeled.

166 Smith St

Brooklyn, NY 11201

b/t Wyckoff St & Warren St in Cobble Hill

uglyduckling-bk.com

Sottocasa

pizza-sottocasa

Forget cheap, $1 slices* and let’s get classy people. Sottocasa brings that elegance and refined take on brick oven authentic Neapolitan pizza that we’re all looking for. It’s a cozy, inviting and rustic little establishment. My friend and I were looking for someplace with a great atmosphere and reasonably priced dinner. And we found just that.

Sottocasa sources their flour and tomatoes from Italy as well as their wood fired oven was built and shipped directly from Naples! How’s that for ya? When I walked inside I was immediately enticed by their simplistic decorations and wooden picnic tables. We were asked if we’d like to sit in the closed-off greenhouse. UMMM… YES PLEASE! Just my kind of seating. They have stringed lights from the ceiling and heat lamps for when it gets cold. Practical and pretty.

Now let’s talk food. For the antipasti we ordered the Prosciutto, Mozzarella and a side of Arugula salad. It was all extremely fresh — a nice beginning to our meal. As for the main course we weren’t too hungry and decided on splitting a pizza. We chose the Salsiccia: tomatoes, mozz, hot italian sausage and basil. *Sigh* The dough was perfectly crispy and held all those ingredients fairly well. Brick oven just has that home-y taste that you can’t get anywhere else. That crispy, slight (in a good way) charred crust. Brings me back to when I visited Italy when I studied abroad.

Our service was great… the waiter was friendly and helpful when deciding on what to choose. As well as we didn’t feel rushed since we had a lot to catch up on that night. Hey, we’re talkative people!

Overall, I’m really impressed with this place. I can’t wait to come back and try their other items on the menu. *Eyes immediately drift towards the Burrata pizza*. Next time it is!

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*I mean don’t get me wrong… we all have those $1 pizza night cravings. You know what I’m talking about.

298 Atlantic Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11201

b/t Hoyt St & Smith St in Cobble Hill, Boerum Hill

(718) 852-8758

sottocasanyc.com

 

Ki Sushi

Front-Ki Sushi

You Yelpers don’t lie. This place blows other Japanese restaurants out of the water. I will try to piggy-back off of what everyone else is saying without being too repetitive. Let’s just let it be known that Ki puts the ISH in fish.

I was visiting Brooklyn for the day with my mother. It was her birthday and we were both craving sushi. Having somewhat solid sushi joints in Long Island, I was hoping to stumble upon a decent lunch spot during my travels. Seeing as Ki was so highly-praised, we had to eat here.

Their ambiance really separates itself from other sushi restaurants. With the sounds of cascading water and low lighting, I truly felt relaxed. Feng shui just radiates from here. It was decently crowded for a Wednesday lunch but we were lucky enough to get a seat right near the window. Their lunch prices are extremely reasonable considering what they give you for your meal. It was $12 for a chicken teriyaki bento box.

Bento Box-Ki Sushi

Here’s what a $12 lunch includes at Ki:
-Ridiculously good miso soup
-Ginger Salad
-Chicken Teriyaki, White Rice with black sesame, 2 Gyoza, steamed veggies (that included butternut squash. unusually amazing pairing), and a california roll.*

Sushi- Ki Sushi

The food looks so artfully prepared. You can tell it was made with precision, care and only the freshest of ingredients. What I appreciated most was the amount of fish to rice ratio. And that they give you 8 pieces instead of 6. Many places skimp on the fish but not Ki. I was not only thoroughly impressed with that but also on the aesthetics on the plating! If you’re a big green tea drinker like me… there’s unlimited re-fills. Huzzah!

Ki, you have now climbed your way to the top of my list of “favorite sushi places”.

*If you’d like you can substitute your california roll with another for an additional charge. I was craving the philly roll and it only cost $2 extra. Don’t be afraid to ask!!

122 Smith St, Brooklyn, NY 11201

b/t Dean St & Pacific St in Cobble Hill, Boerum Hill

(718) 935-0575