A sous chef friend of mine and I were discussing the excellent tasting menu at Benu recently and he asked me about b patisserie. I had never heard of it, and nor was I a huge fan of what he reccomended I try there – the Kouign-Amann. Then he mentioned the magic words: Black Sesame, a flavor which could bring about world peace if given a chance (along with Taro). Try the Kouign-amann at b patisserie the next time I visit the bay area he urged me. I’ve never been a huge Kouign-ite. I often find the pastry a bit too flaky, kind of like the culture of Los Angeles. It is nearly impossible to eat one without resulting in a flaky mess.
I practically have an honorary degree in croissant evaluation, and I could see that clearly the pastry work here was top notch at mere glance of a cooling rack. I personally find Kouign looks like someone planted a bomb inside an otherwise delicious croissant, and dessicated it past the point of no return. Even the famed Dominique Ansel’s Kouign wasn’t extremely impressive. The Kouign here, particularly the black sesame was utterly delicious and made me a believer. I wish I would’ve taken a picture of it, but we ate it too quickly. It was so good that if you google Kouign Amann, the wikipedia page has a picture of the pastry from this very shop.
B was Started by Belinda Leong and Michel Suas; Belinda a former pastry chef of the famed restaurants Gary Danko and Manresa. Michel is also famous, one of the founders of the San Francisco Baking Institute (and author of THE book on baking). The pastry here was definitely excellent, and made me a Kouign believer. Rich and flaky with an appropriately excessive amount of butter. The cookies also looked entirely legitimate, but I didn’t have room to sample one.
In addition the ficelle style sandwiches produced at the rear of the restaurant were also surprisingly excellent and lovingly made. Lovely breads at extremely reasonable prices are also on display. Service was good, and everyone seemed happy to be working there.
This is the real reason why folks will pay exorbitant prices to live in the city of San Francisco. The symbiosis that exists between walking extreme hills to burn calories, and all resultant delicious baked goods one can eat and still stay thin. Anyone who says otherwise is a liar.