Serious Eats: Sweets

First Look: B. Patisserie, San Francisco

[Photographs: Carrie Vasios]

Note: First Looks give previews of new dishes, drinks, and menus we're curious about. Since they are arranged photo shoots and interviews with restaurants, we do not make critical evaluations or recommendations.

As soon as you walk into the patisserie, you feel it. Is it the vases of fresh flowers? The slim yellow chairs or marble topped tables? Maybe it's the large hanging mirrors, and in part the spiraling loaves of crusty baguettes, lightly dusted in flour. It's definitely the heady smell of butter in the air, and absolutely those large glass display cases showing neatly ordered rows of cakes and viennoiserie. These are the things that make stepping into B. Patisserie feel like transporting yourself to Paris, even though it's located on California Street in Lower Pacific Heights.

This feeling is intentional, the small details all planned by owner Belinda Leong. Before she worked at Gary Danko, Leong staged with Pierre Hermé in Paris and at Fouchon in New York. She's been inspired by the way that Parisians approached pastry—they ate beautiful cakes and cookies, and they ate them often. She wanted to bring that experience stateside.

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At her new bakery, which is co-owned by San Francisco Baking Institute co-founder Michel Suas, Leong is offering everything from elegant layer cakes to a 10-hour apple tart to rustic butter cakes. Her signature item is the Breton pastry kougin amann—and if some New Yorkers notice a familiarity in the undulating top and flaky layers, it's because Dominique Ansel also staged at Fouchon, though at the Paris location.

"There are going to be some items that are always available," Leong explains, "like the bostock or the mousse or the choux. We'll change the flavors—right now we're featuring a lot of passionfruit—but those will change depending on the season."

In addition to the the large selection of pastries and cakes, there will be a menu of savory tartines. Click through the slideshow to see more of what's baking at B. Patisserie.

B. Patisserie

2821 California St, San Francisco, CA 94115 (map); facebook.com/b.patisserie

About the author: Carrie Vasios is the editor of Serious Eats: Sweets. She likes to peruse her large collection of cookbooks while eating jam from the jar. You can follow her on Twitter @carrievasios

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