Bien Cuit Serves Impeccable Sandwiches for Less Than $10
Sara Ventiera for the Village Voice
We may prefer different flavor profiles, divergent national cuisines, and disparate dietary restrictions, but if there's one food item almost everyone could agree upon, it would be the sandwich (this even goes for avoiders of gluten, although they have to find substitutes for bread). The sandwich fits all sorts of budgets, from $2 egg-and-cheeses to $15 versions made with all artisanal products. But even fancy sandwiches don't have to set you back too much: Cobble Hill's Bien Cuit (120 Smith Street, Brooklyn; 718-576-3760), one of the borough's most beloved bakeries, offers a selection of top-notch sammies for less than $10.
The secret to any sandwich lies in the quality of the ingredients, and this place is known for offering the best of the best. Bien Cuit works with local Dutchess County farmers for its animal products. Produce, too, is all high-grade, as are the condiments. But the secret here is really the bread.
Bien Cuit uses a technique known as small-batch mixing that gives chef Zachary Golper complete control over each loaf. He then uses another age-old method called slow fermentation that allows each slab of dough to sit for 16 to 68 hours before baking. The whole process takes up to three days, resulting in breads that are aromatic and perfectly balanced.
The shop serves a petite butternut squash sandwich with caramelized onions, shishito peppers, and white bean purée on soft Pugliese for $4.25. It's full of flavor, but chances are, depending on your appetite, you'd need to eat two to feel full.
One speck and Cambozola ($9.50), however, should do the trick. Shaved speck, white-pepper mayonnaise, kabocha squash, and Cambozola cheese are layered between two halves of a baguette that's crisp on the outside and pillowy on the inside . Between the impeccable bread and rich, savory ingredients, this handheld meal is more satisfying than a lot of plated dishes.
Make sure to check the menu before you head in. The eatery changes its offerings seasonally; regardless, there will always be something that's worth the visit.
Follow Sara Ventiera on Twitter, @saraventiera.
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