Every week, I document another dish that impressed and satiated me during my food adventures around New York City
Runner & Stone does not look like most people’s idea of a bakery. There’s no deep glass display in front, no flour dusting the floor, no overwhelming buttery smell in the air. Instead there’s a well-stocked bar, an airy professional dining room, and customers enjoying a savory restaurant meal around tables.
Yet this new all-day café on Gowanus’ burgeoning restaurant row (3rd Avenue) has received much press for being co-owned by Peter Endriss, the former pastry chef of both Bouchon Bakery and Per Se. And while the breads have gotten all the attention, the savory menu (manned by Chef Chris Pizzulli) seems to take center stage after the early morning hours.
I didn’t have time for a full meal when I came by on a post-brunch excursion, but I was pleased to see that some pastries and breads were still displayed among the bar’s fancy wine bottles. I had a carb craving and so I picked up a really nice buckwheat baguette and a tempting soft German-style pretzel.
This pretzel did not come with mustard or butter and it wasn’t even hot. My expectations were quite low and I was ready to write off Runner & Stone as a gimmick that stretched itself too thin. But once I bit into the pretzel, all doubts melted away, just like the sweet dough of the pretzel melted away in my mouth.
Although not hot, the pretzel somehow had a soft, dreamy quality that warmed my tastebuds. The airy bottom was buttery, while the nubby top had just enough crunch to hint at what hard pretzels should taste like. And the restrained salt crystals helped cut the richness. I was simply amazed at the genuine freshness and flavor of what I expected to be an ordinary generic pretzel.
Maybe it’s the bakeries that look nothing like bakeries at all that are doing the most exciting baking. Never judge a bakery by it’s storefront. But do judge it by its pretzel. And with that criteria, Runner & Stone is a winner!
|RUNNER & STONE|
|285 3rd Avenue (between Carroll and President Street),