2013 could appropriately be termed the Year of the Bakery, with b. patisserie, Fournee, Heartbaker, Josey Baker Bread at The Mill, and Barkada all rolling onto the scene, and 20th Century Cafe and Marla Bakery still to come. The latest spot to shower the Bay with sweet, sweet carbs: Le Marais Bakery, which opens today in the Marina. Owned by Paris native Patrick Ascaso, a retired businessman who named it for his favorite neighborhood in the City of Light, Le Marais boasts a wide selection of breads and pastries.
On the bread side, boulanger Justin Brown (a Juilliard-trained bassoonist who made a career change to cooking and worked at Bien Cuit and Roberta's in NYC) bakes five types of loaves: a traditional baguette, country levain, pain de mie, whole wheat, and rye, all made with organic ingredients. His viennoiserie include croissants (in the traditional chocolate and almond as well as hazelnut, banana-chocolate, and cherry-chocolate) and a seasonal chausson (turnover). He's joined by patissier Phil Ogiela (Aziza, Presidio Social Club), whose desserts include four types of bouchons, gateau Basque, tartlets, macarons, madeleines, and even some gluten-free options like an almond-flour cake and a gluten-free macaron. Stumptown coffee, a handful of sandwiches and salads, and savory baked goods like quiche round out the menu. (Here it is in full.)
Given its small space, Le Marais also has an unusually high design quotient: it was designed by Mission shop Paxton Gate, which also did Flour + Water and Central Kitchen, and features limestone floors sourced from a French quarry, handmade redwood cabinets and benches, and old loaf and madeleine pans. Mirrors accented with reclaimed French balcony railings complete the setting. Hours are 7 am-7 pm daily.