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Best free bread in NYC restaurants?

I'm interested to hear where New Yorkers think there is the best bread delivered gratis to the table (or with your takeout). I'm not so much interested in the fancy restaurants - more so in the little reasonably priced spots (and not just in Manhattan, but Brooklyn and Queens too) you love to go to because they serve really delicious bread! Any comments gratefully received.

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  1. The easy response is Per Se, but I guess that won't be helpful for your query. However, they undoubtedly have the best bread service in NYC. The long-departed Alain Ducasse at the Essex House was serious competition a few years ago, but I think Per Se was still the best.

    Still pretty upscale, but Scarpetta has an excellent bread basket.

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    Per Se
    10 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10019

    Scarpetta
    355 West 14th Street, New York, NY 10014

    5 Replies
    1. re: hcbk0702

      I came in the thread to say Scarpetta. It's not exactly cheap, but you can get out of there without spending too much money if you stick to starters and pasta (which are better than mains anyway, IMO.)

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      Scarpetta
      355 West 14th Street, New York, NY 10014

      1. re: hcbk0702

        Thirding Scarpetta. You can even order just a pasta and soup at the bar, and they'll bring the whole bread basket to you.

        Do the gougeres at Eleven Madison Park count?

        Overall, I find that upscale restaurants are the ones that do it best since the bread is baked in house, served warm/fresh, with a variety of butters and spreads. And the butter is room temperature. My favorite thing is when they give you a little dish of salt, too.

        I think Del Posto is supposed to have a good bread basket and they serve you whipped lardo.

        Maialino has a nice bread basket that includes the pizza bianca from Sullivan Street Bakery.

        For something lower end, Blue Ribbon Bakery?

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        Eleven Madison Park
        11 Madison Ave., New York, NY 10010

        Sullivan Street Bakery
        533 W 47th St, New York, NY 10036

        Del Posto
        85 10th Avenue, New York, NY 10011

        Blue Ribbon Bakery
        33 Bedford St, New York, NY 10014

        Scarpetta
        355 West 14th Street, New York, NY 10014

        Maialino
        2 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10010

        1. re: kathryn

          Second Blue Ribbon Bakery.

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          Blue Ribbon Bakery
          33 Bedford St, New York, NY 10014

        2. re: hcbk0702

          Scarpetta - mini stromboli! I came in to write this one as well. Needless to say, I think the people like the bread basket.

          Del Posto - I went there shortly after Scarpetta. While I loved the food, the bread basket was nothing memorable.

          I always like Lugar's a lot, dipping that pretzel-esque bread in their steak sauce, yum.

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          Del Posto
          85 10th Avenue, New York, NY 10011

          Scarpetta
          355 West 14th Street, New York, NY 10014

          1. re: hcbk0702

            I'd agree. Bread service at Per Se was impeccable. I never made it to the Alain Ducasse at the Essex house. How does it to compare to the one at the St. Regis?

            Another for Scarpetta.

          2. A Voce!!!! Sooooooooooooooooo delish! Yes I know its fancy place but that's my vote.

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            A Voce
            41 Madison Ave, New York, NY 10010

              1. It's not exactly on the same level as EMP, Per Se, or Bouley, but I got a salad to go at Le Pain Quotidien, and they gave me basically half a loaf of descent bread to go with it.

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                Per Se
                10 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10019

                1. Bouley Upstairs, which I think is the same as at Bouley itself, although obviously less of a $$ commitment for dinner. It's both interesting and fantastic, to the extent that I've ruined the subsequent dinner at least once.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: sholli

                    Really? Have not been in awhile but I was a big supporter back when.
                    However, I do not recall ever eating bread there.
                    If I go back will have to take notice. Then again, if it is that nice it would seem it
                    would jump out.

                    1. re: dietndesire

                      They don't give you tons (but will refill) and tend to give you a few different types of bread, all sliced. It was exceptionally fresh and just better/more interesting than usual. Definitely made an impression.

                      1. re: sholli

                        Upstairs is so hit and miss. Sometimes they are on their A game, but usually they are playing their D game. This includes service, the food itself, and the presentation.