Sullivan St Bakery
There’s no question that carbs – particularly the kind that come dressed as any kind of bread product are fantastic every time of year. But nights with a trace of chill grant permission for something extra cozy and maybe illicit. Even to devotees of low carb eating.
So, after a meeting in West Chelsea I thought I’d check in on the newest location of my favorite carb palace, Sullivan St Bakery. Not just because I’m a fan of their take away breads, dine in paninis and the oh so Roman pizza squares but for the seasonally offered flavors that come with. And Autumn? Knocks them right out of the park.
By now anyone interested in NYC food knows of Jim Lahey and his wonderful pizza haunt Co. (aka Company), his no knead dough recipes and for his long-time trend setting bakery called Sullivan St. (of course the great Grandaisy Bakery owned by his ex partner/wife is an independent offshoot).
There are a few pastries, bomboloni (Italian doughnuts filled with jam or vanilla bean custard), canotto dolce (mascarpone fruit crumble) but you can also have a seasonal pickled vegetable salad, a panini that might include prosciutto, mozzarella or a chickpea fritter with citrus yogurt. To that you can add wine, beer, a sensational strawberry lemonade. The atmosphere is ultra spare and modern but comfortable. Easy to hang out and get some work done or chat with friends over soul satisfying pizza.
In any case, on to my siren’s call. Dough. And in the best possible incarnations. I walked out of there with a loaf of one of the best breads I’ve eaten anywhere ever…the medium whole wheat Truccione Sare. I bow to thee crusty-chewy-light-dense-soft sourdough oval with “irregular crumb structure”.
And it freezes well so sublime toast is in your future. If it lasts that long.
Then it was time for the true autumnal Tuscan tradition, Pan Co’ Santi (bread of saints). It’s a little sweeter but works well for a snack, a breakfast, any meal really. I had it with some fresh, sweet green figs. Holy bread balls. It’s studded with walnuts, raisins and a touch of cinnamon. Trust me, buy two loaves.
But the best of the best of the best is the Romani style pizze squares. They will cut it in custom sizes from the long rectangular sheet but it’s offered at the counter in squares. All except the only-available-for-a-few-weeks in the fall Schiacciata d’Uva (squashed grape thing) a pizze/bread made with champagne grapes, raisins, and anise seed atop the salty Pizze Bianca dough to celebrate the grape harvest. It has its own shape. Pops of tangy sweetness that comfort your tongue with bits of saltiness.
Then my personal superstars. The zucchini with gruyere and breadcrumbs and another Autumn only treasure, the Cavolfiore, cauliflower slice with parmesan, chili peppers and olive oil. Sometimes prepared with fennel. Simple and succulent. Eyes rolled back in your head kind of simple.
Many other finds – the legendary patate slice, the pizze bianca with pecorino or without, green olive breads and the like. You just can’t beat the long standing taste treats here. Jim Lahey started this small bakery in 1994 after studying sculpture and then bread baking in Italy. That artistry is evident in the look and feel of everything that comes out of his kitchen and in the inspiration of every bite that goes into your mouth. Especially in the Autumn.
Sullivan St Bakery
236 Ninth Av