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Jul 26, 2011 12:02 PM

Bien Cuit -- new French bakery on Smith St

I have no idea how I missed this, either from walking by this space nearly daily or on any of the food blogs (it's been covered by the Times and Voice, for starters, both of which I've overlooked.)

Anyways, it seems a French bakery has opened up on the Atlantic Ave. side of Smith St, and if the desserts we had are any indication of what to expect, this place is going to be golden. Think Almondine quality, but more "experimental". I had a sweet muenster and raspberry danish that was quite possibly one of the best danishes I've had -- not too sweet, not too buttery, not too heavy, but still quite sweet, buttery, and heavy. (If that makes sense.) My wife's almond and pear danish nearly as good, although the flavors could have been a little more pronounced. We also had a fresh juice (white peach) spritzer which was perfect on this sunny day.

Amazing-looking fresh bread (slightly pricey, but they sell half loaves) and according to the person working the front counter everything is coming in from upstate or in some cases closer. They also have some sweet and savory tarts, a few sandwiches, and a full coffee bar. This side of the neighborhood has really needed a bakery and it looks like this one is gonna be brilliant.

Update: Here's the menu

Bien Cuit
120 Smith St, Brooklyn, NY 11201

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  1. I've been twice now and agree that it is very good, but overpriced. So much so, that it won't be a regular stop for me. I really wanted it to be the kind of place I stop in for my weekly loaf of bread, but the prices are prohibitive. As for quality, I also had the muenster & raspberry danish and on another visit a cherry hazelnut pastry (brioche?), both of which were very good, but I disagree that they were the best I'd ever had, and again, I expected spectacular for the price. I also tried the baguette, which was good, but I didn't think was better than my husband's no-knead bread. (By way of comparison, I think Baked has the best baked goods I've ever had. Not cheap, but very worth it.)

    1 Reply
    1. re: seb

      seb -- I think I've only had brownies from Baked, which I rather adore -- I'll have to explore the other options.

      In my experience, the gold standard for danishes has been Emmerys in Copenhagen (with the Japanese chain Andersen coming in a close second), but I feel that those at Bien Cuit compared very favorably. (I suspect that they're more of a Gallic take on the traditional wienerbrod -- not to mention the unconventional fillings -- and don't know if these pale in comparison to the French versions one would find in a Parisian bakery.) Regardless, I fear for my waistband.

      Bien Cuit
      120 Smith St, Brooklyn, NY 11201

    2. Thanks for the post. Some of the stuff looks pretty interesting.

      1. Early in the morning, the croissants ($3) here are near perfect, and the bakery prepares a few very tasty lunch options ($8 coppa sandwich: i'm looking at you). We've had the rye & sunflower loaf, which lasted us through three dinners and one lunch without going stale. My husband described it well when he said "there's a lot going on here." It was crusty and crunchy on the outside, fluffy and a little chewy inside, with a lot of depth of flavor. After a little soul-searching, I've decided that I can afford this place about once, maybe twice per week. Food is delicious, but I agree with other posters that prices are a too high.

        1. Lambretta, thanks for bringing this to my attention. Tried a few things from the bakery. The almond cookie was quite delicious. Very delicate and not very sweet. I didn't get to try the chocolate chip shortbread because DH finished it. Guess he really enjoyed it because he forgot to offer me a taste. The orange chocolate brioche was OK, but I thought the chocolate flavor was too muted for my taste. The white cherry rose tart was good, but I think I would have preferred a bit more cream to fruit ratio. DH said the bacon brie croissant was delicious (didn't taste that either).

          Overall, quite promising. Prices are a bit dear but quality is good. The woman behind the counter was also quite lovely. Looking forward to trying a few more things in the future.

          And I think comparing this bakery to Baked is like comparing apples to oranges. They're both good, but they carry different types of goods.

          359 Van Brunt St, Brooklyn, NY 11231

          Bien Cuit
          120 Smith St, Brooklyn, NY 11201

          1. finally stopped in. the smallest-size tart there is at least 7 dollars - mine was 9. a pinenut caramel tart.

            it was fine, but bitter.

            i was astounded to be served a cold, hard pastry plunked on a plate for NINE dollars, more than a plated dessert at a restaurant, where a chef ensures the dish is the right temperature, attractively presented, not stale, etc.

            3 Replies
            1. re: mig_nyc

              what a wonderful place this is. It's truly special. We went there over break and had such a wonderful time. When I think about the bakery scene in NYC it's pretty lame. I remember going to San Fran and just being taken back by how much better their offerings are. Look at a place like Tartine out there, if placed in NYC it would have zero competition.. What do we have? City Bakery? Bouley Bakery? Sure there is Grand Daisy or Sullivan but, they are limited in their offerings and they are not like places you are going to hang out in..

              Enter Bien Cuit, the best damn Croissants in NYC.. You can't get a decent croissant out here. I don't understand the shape that NYC has adopted.. They are not like the classic croissants, they look more like these rounded calzone pastries or something.. The croissants at Bien Cuit as amazing.. They are crispy and flaky on the outside and the almond filling is so delicious..But my favorite part is how they allow the almond on the outside to brown up to a perfect crunch..

              In addition to the Almond Croissant we had a few other pastries and then ordered a bunch to go.. As well as their Pan Pugliese. Pan Pugliese is one of my favorite breads and this is by far my favorite version in NYC. I sliced them long and grilled them on my kitchen grill.. Served with vitello tonnato, served with carmalized onion and blue cheese, served with ricotta and prosciutto on a couple of different occasions.. Each person that tried it could not get over the bread.. It is just so good.

              We last night, I made a broccoli soup and served the soup over a toasted bruschetta and used the last of the bread for croutons on a salad.. I was sad to see it go..

              Anyway, yeh, Bien Cuit, so great.

              Bien Cuit
              120 Smith St, Brooklyn, NY 11201

              1. re: Daniel76

                Honestly I don't find the croissants at Tartine in San Francisco to be that great. Most of their stuff looks better than it tastes, or at least it did the last time I was there. I think there are lots of great bakeries in NYC these days. I think you generally need to separate the pastry type bakery from the bread bakery. Sometimes there's crossover but not always.

                I haven't been to Bien Cuit yet, and I'm looking forward to it.

                1. re: Daniel76

                  You couldn't have posted this reminder _before_ I went on my new years diet? :D