b. patisserie, which opened just over a month ago, has already become an instant neighborhood sensation. Owner and head pastry chef Belinda Leong, along with partner and San Francisco Baking Institute founder Michel Suas, have seen fans came out in droves to taste her creamy, buttery, sugary creations, often showing up to empty shelves in the early weeks as the popular bakery struggled to keep up with massive demand. High expectations for this place may be an understatement: Leong has graced the kitchens of Gary Danko and Manresa, trained in Paris with Pierre Hermé, and staged at Fouchon in New York. So how are her pastries holding up under the scrutiny? The Early Word scoured the Web to find out what people are saying so far.
The Kouign-amann News: Given Leong's pedigree, it's no surprise that her pastries have received rave reviews. Especially buzzworthy is her signature kouign-amann (pronounced queen ah-mahn), a pastry that's "almost like a croissant, but better" and "nothing short of amazing," according to Yelper Mel T. Fellow Yelper Melissa T. (no relation, we assume) says it's "how pastries are supposed to taste," Lena S. calls it "over-the-top delish," and Sophia Y. implores you to "buy one for everyone you know." Leslie of Spotted SF was lucky enough to snag one fresh from the oven, and found it "perfectly flaky and buttery on the outside" with "a sweet and soft caramel-y inside." And the ladies at Pure Wow "swooned over its extra-crisp crust and sweet layered center." [Yelp, Spotted SF, Pure Wow]
The Other Pastry News: Leong's kouign-amann aren't the only desserts earning praise. Tasting Table's Jonathan Kauffman loves the "glossy, domed" chocolate-caramel mousse, which Tablehopper also dubbed "extraordinary." Other standouts for Tasting Table included the vanilla cake with "whisperingly tart" mascarpone, while Michele Mandell of The New Fillmore fell for the "not to miss" grande macaron with raspberries and rose cream mousseline: "It is hands-down one of the prettiest pastries ever." [Tasting Table, Tablehopper, New Fillmore]
The Coffee News: Leong serves ever-popular Four Barrel coffee, but the word is mixed on the quality of her baristas' drinks. Over on Yelp, D.T. says his latte was "good, but not great," and around town e. reports that he got a "pretty terrible bitter cappuccino." Rhonda M. yelps that the "really good pastries...deserve a better caffeine partner." [Yelp]
The Atmosphere News: Ben of Focus:Snap:Eat reports that "b. patisserie has the feel of a modern French patisserie, with stylish lighting and marble countertops." Serious Eats' Carrie Vasios describes it "like transporting yourself to Paris," thanks to details like "the vases of fresh flowers," "slim yellow chairs," and "marble-topped tables" as well as "the heady smell of butter in the air." Also worth noting is the custom marble-topped pastry counter that's Leong's "piece de resistance," according to Paolo Lucchesi over at Inside Scoop—it's designed to keep each pastry at the ideal temperature. [F:S:E, Serious Eats, Inside Scoop]
The Service News: Yelpers are divided on b. patisserie's service. Lena S. found it "a little slow" and "felt like the girls working the front were a bit scattered and lost," although she did note that it could be because they've "only been open for a few weeks." Mel T. thought that most of the employees "seemed to hate their jobs," and although he didn't find them to be "rude," they "weren't pleasant, either." However, Victoria J. says "the staff was super nice and helpful," and Foomin U. found service "fast and friendly." [Yelp]
The Price News: Mel T. yelped that the average price of $6.50 "for the majority of teeny cakes just didn't warrant their miniature sizes." Alex S. agreed, calling their prices "highway robbery" and "exorbitant." Victoria J., however thought that the $13 she paid for four items was "totally reasonable." [Yelp]