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Nov 6, 2003 02:57 PM

Kosher bakeries near DiFara (Isaac's)

  • d

I've developed the (lethal) habit of, after DiFara, walking across the street to Isaac's bakery. I'm definitely no connoiseur of Kosher bakeries, but everything I've had there has been outta sight. Granted it hasn't been much: a sweet roll, some unpronouncable chocolate coffee cake thing (amazing), a black & white. But the stuff's been astoundingly fresh and tasty. Haven't seen anyone else write about the place. So, is Isaac's just middling? What are the best bakeries in the nabe?

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  1. I've never had anything good at any bakeries in the nabe, including Isaac's, but maybe I'll give it another whirl.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Peter Cuce

      Our favorite, from about a year's experience living not far away, is Chiffon's on Coney Island Ave. a half block south of Ave. J. But they close early. Also, next door on E. 15th from DiFara is a Russian bread bakery (Russkie Xleb) with good cookies and great dark rye. Finally, I have been wondering for a long time whether to share this with Chowhound and am deciding to share a wondrous secret, perhaps. (Because, after all, I owe my discovery of DiFara to Chowhound.) A block down J from DiFara is a nondescript steamtable deli called Kosher Spot, which blossoms on Thursdays only, with more luscious varieties of kugel than I can count, and also the best cholent (beef/bean/potato/sorrel stew) I've ever found for sale. Not dessert, definitely, but perhaps equivalent sustenance for those times when the wait for a pie is just too long. Take-out only.

    2. Isaac's is not the only bakery in the neighborhood, but they are open later than most. They have excellent challah (thursday-friday only) and black&whites. The chocolate cake you were wowed by is called "kokosh" (derived from the hungarian word for cocoa, I think) and it is very intense indeed. Generally speaking the orthodox jewish neighborhood around DiFara's is a real scene on Thursday evenings, as folks do their shopping for the sabbath, which begins Friday evening. The Kosher Spot (av J betw E 14 & E 13 St's), plus similar prepared food takeout places in the neighborhood (my favorite is "Gourmet on J", 4-5 doors down from DiFara's) offer a large variety of traditional Jewish foods (mostly of Eastern European origin, with a smattering of middle-eastern) on Thursday and Fridays (but they all close on Friday ~ 2 hrs before sundown; this time of yr 230 pm the latest). Other days of the week, the menu is slimmed down and business is slow.

      Of course, you'd be nuts to try DiFara's on a Thursday evening if you're driving (horrid congestion; no parking), but if coming by train, why not?

      By the way, also within walking distance of DiFara's is Olympic Pita on Coney Island Av (the equivalent of East 11th St) between Av J & Av K, a kosher middle-eastern restaurant (kebab's, schwarma, etc.) that bakes its own lafas and pitas. It's come up a few times on this board and gotten good notices.

      Also on CIA betw J&K is the Orchard, a specialty fruit store that carries very high quality stuff at very high prices. Some swear by it, but more often than not, I've come away thinking that it wasn't worth the extra money.

      1. I'm late coming to this board but I bought a honey cake from Isaac's the other day and it was perfect--very dark and moist. My former mother-in-law used to buy wonderful marble cake from a place on Ocean Ave. years ago and Isaac's was almost as good. Great water challah, too, and the sweet rolls looked really good (there's only so much pastry to be bought for a family of one). Unfortunately, Di Fara was closed for a week. :(
        I've read so much about Chiffon's; I'm sorry they closed before I could try them.

        1 Reply
        1. re: MacGuffin

          this is a dream bakery
          only the best rainbow cookies in the world
          lovely staff everything and i do mean everything is off the charts yummy
          go to difaras first because if you come here first there will be no room in your belly for the best pizza in the world
          we went to both yesterday i now know what will be on my last meal on earth
          the sicilian with artichokes and the aforementioned rainbow cookies.
          sheer wonderfulness, during an extremely difficult year this was a well needed hour of sheer joy being with my wife and my Jamaican nephew who had never been to either.
          except for winning the lottery it just doesnt get better than this

          Isaac's Bake Shop
          1419 Ave J, Brooklyn, NY 11230

        2. How does Isaacs compare with the old Ratchiks that was on the same site...for elephant ears, bowties, eyeglasses, rye breads and especially bobkas?

          1 Reply
          1. re: MoxieBoy

            sorry for the caps
            all i know is that my wife and i are going back this sunday to go to isaacs and difaras as our last non diet meal for the forseeable future

          2. I personally do not like all those expensive, not so amazing Ashkenazi bakeries....try Pita Sababa for some really yummy Syrian pastries. They have the BEST fresh pita, amazing chummus and various salads in their fridge, delish little cookies and really really yummy baklava in every shape and form. Its not right by Difaras- its at 540 Kings Highway but its so much better IMO than the Midwood Ashkenazi brethren.

            Pita Sababa
            540 Kings Hwy, Brooklyn, NY 11223