Test-Driving Brooklyn Bread Cafe


Lard bread
Brooklyn Bread Café is a newish Italian bakery in Park Slope. The vibe is disconcertingly franchise-like (there’s a second branch at 436 Court Street in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn) and the service is off-puttingly slow. But the fact that all the breads are expertly made in-house by a master baker makes Brooklyn Bread Café worth a stop when you need a good loaf of bread. Lard bread has a burnished crust and is shot through with nuggets of browned prosciutto (although the black pepper we like in lard bread is missing). The freshly baked brick oven baguette, the “golden crispy” loaf, and the seeded semolina bread are all also worth taking home and ripping into.

Sandwiches, on the other hand, are massively overpriced–about $10 for a hero. In fairness, each sandwich is so enormous that it’s really two sandwiches. Our favorite is the broccoli rabe with mozzarella, roasted red peppers and arugula; it’s deliciously peppery and garlicky. The large, crusty hero roll it’s served on is just the right proportion of bread–you can get your mouth around it. Skip the olive oil and vinegar topping, which only weighs the hulking thing down.

Right now, there are homemade struffoli–a traditional Neapolitan confection eaten at Christmas, made of small balls of fried dough fashioned into a pyramid, shellacked with syrup, and topped with colorful sprinkles and Jordan almonds. 

Brooklyn Bread Cafe
382 Fifth Avenue, Brooklyn