Croissants, Pain au Chocolat and Brioche from Bakeri in Williamsburg
I don’t drive and I hate cars. Do you? Most people I meet abroad are shocked to find out that I don’t have my driver’s liscence. Is it even possible to get places in America without a car? While the good ol’ USA may require a Land Rover (or beat up ford) to move you from point A to point B, NYC is nirvana for anyone who isn’t fond of cars. Except for going to the airport and IKEA, there are few times when you actually need to put the pedal to the metal. And even then, we have the air train and ferry services to prevent us from driving.
That being said, I’ve never taken the subway to Williamsburg. I always make my Dad drive me. Good thing he enjoys trying new cafes, or I’d never be able to go there. For people who live in Brooklyn, Williamsburg is a major pain to get to. There’s no way I’m going to bother to transfer for the L and I’m pretty sure that the G train is a myth.
Of course, this means that I have to put aside my deep distaste for going fast in a metal object that weighs quite a bit (I have no desire to know the precise weight of our family car) and will probably be described as vintage in a few years time in order to experience the coffee and food scene in Williamsburg. Last Sunday, I decided that I could put aside my deep distaste for cars in order to have a croissant at Bakeri and some coffee somewhere.
It was a bitterly cold Sunday morning and the sun was hanging low in the sky. My parents and I piled into our precariously old car to get some breakfast. We have vastly different breakfast styles. They love their diners with pancakes, waffles, eggs and endless cups of weak coffee while I only want a small coffee and a pastry. We can sometimes agree on brunch (especially when it’s at Public), but weekend breakfasts have always divided us. Since I’m only home for a couple weeks, my parents put aside their standing date at the local diner to accompany me on my endless search for pastry heaven.
None of us left disappointed.
Bakeri is tiny and cramped, but that only makes the cafe more charming. There’s a long, thin communal table that can sit either three couples or a four/three top and two people. There’s also a couple cramped tables in the front window and, I’m told, a garden outback. If you’re lucky, like we were, there’s also a tiny nook of a four top (or more) in the back entrance to the garden. We had to keep our coats on, but we had our own private dining room.
While my dad parked the car, my mom and I marvelled at the pastry case trying to choose from the mouthwatering display. The croissants are tiny enough that you feel like you can have two without being entirely gluttonous. We got three croissants, two pain au chocolat and a brioche. Since we were planning on going out to get proper coffee afterwards we were going to split a decaf drip, however, Bakeri doesn’t brew it. Instead, we got a regular drip coffee to split three ways. It was nice to have it for dunking, but it wasn’t anything special.
The croissants were small but delightful. You could really taste the unique flavor of the butter and I could have easily spent the entire meal conjecturing about which brand of butter they used (don’t worry, I saved my parents ears). There were layers and the ends were pleasingly crispy. This probably wouldn’t satisfy a major croissant craving, but would be lovely to have at a party or for a big brunch when you also wanted a little savory component.
The pain au chocolat was good, but relatively forgettable. The dough felt a bit denser and the chocolate got lost. I wouldn’t recommend it not with all the other options.
The true standout was the brioche. Normally brioches are forgettable, dry and dull bread objects that wouldn’t make anyone’s mouth water. While I was eating this one, however, all I could think was that I simply had to try my hand at brioche making once again (I’ve tried two times before with middling results). It was light, fluffy and airy. It was buttery and somehow cakey. It was full of flavor, yet stood up beautifully to dunking in coffee.
If I went back again When I go back again, I will most definitely choose a brioche over anything else. We got the plain brioche, but they also had an orange one that I’m willing to bet is absolutely delightful.
Bakeri may be a trip, but it’s a trip that’s worth it. The little cafe is gorgeous, despite being cramped. While the coffee isn’t standout, it’s perfectly acceptable. The croissants may be small, but they’re delicious. The brioche, however, is the true winner. Next time you need a Sunday morning adventure, put Bakeri at the top of your list.
What’s your favorite breakfast pastry?