Yesterday, we wrote about our love of the zucchini sandwich at Bien Cuit, a French bakery and café that just opened on Smith Street. Today, we’re exploring the sweeter side of its menu.
Bien Cuit offers an impressive array of sweet and savory palm-sized tarts. Aesthetically speaking, they all walk an appealing line between French-style OCD perfection and rustic nonchalance. The cherries on the white cherry and rose tart, for example, are piled up in a carefree sort of way, and the roast peaches on the peach and raspberry tart wouldn’t look out of place served on their own at a picnic.
Both tarts are terrific, thanks to their ripe, lush fruit and delicate and balanced flavors. The rose crème fraîche smeared at the base of the cherry tart avoids the fate of many a rose-scented pastry, which far too often approximate potpourri bowls. Instead, it’s subtle, a bit mysterious, and amps up the flavor of the fruit.
Likewise, the peach and raspberry tart is basically a delivery vehicle for barely adulterated fruit; here, the peaches have been roasted with lemongrass, which adds a lovely, faintly exotic scent to the pastry. The crust on both tarts is light, buttery, and crisp, and so good we’d eat it plain. Whether or not we get the opportunity to do so, we’re looking forward to working our way through the rest of the tarts on Bien Cuit’s menu.
120 Smith Street, Brooklyn
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on July 22, 2011