Where to Carb Load: Great Bread Service from Coast to Coast
Multiple Locations: Scarpetta
The only downside to the bread service at Scarpetta is that you may not have room for dinner. The bread basket includes slices of warm house made focaccia with rosemary and sea salt, and two kinds of stromboli (one vegetable and cheese; one smoked mozzarella and salami). As if that weren't enough, the breads come with housemade eggplant caponata, mascarpone butter and citrus-infused olive oil.
Photo courtesy of LDV Hospitality
Las Vegas: LAVO
Garlic bread can be really bad when it's not done right — burned, chalky, bitter. But not at LAVO, where Corporate Executive Chef Marc Marrone brushes warm loaves with garlic butter and olive oil and sprinkles them with freshly grated cheese. The garlic bread arrives on every table gratis, with a rich tomato marinara for dipping.
Photo courtesy of TAO Group
Palo Alto, Calif.: Bird Dog
Philadelphia: High Street on Market
Baker Alex Bois of High Street on Market in Philadelphia, and the newly opened High Street on Hudson in New York City, is one of the country’s most talented bread men. His loaves are rustic and hearty and rely on recipes from the Old World. His terrific bread service is the best way to get a taste of his talents for only $6. It includes a seasonal selection of his signatures, such as vollkornbrot (a New England cornmeal loaf sweetened with molasses), andama (a dark German rye studded with sunflower seeds), and keystone ground, served on a butcher block with a trio of spreads: charred eggplant, burnt celery root with mushroom powder, and apple butter. Have it for lunch with nothing else and you will be quite content.
Photo by Neal Santos
New Orleans: Bayona
Washington D.C.: Ripple
At Ripple, a market-driven American restaurant in Washington D.C.'s Cleveland Park neighborhood, Executive Chef Marjorie Meek-Bradley serves her famous milk breads — the super-light and fluffy breads made popular by Asian bakeries — warm in a cast-iron skillet and with a scallion butter.
Photo courtesy of Ripple
At Alter, Chef Brad Kilgore makes loaves of brioche every day in-house and crusts them with a kind of wild "everything" mixture of herbs, salts and spices — dill seed, sumac, poppy seed and lava salt ($8). Kilgore serves the brioche with what he he calls Umami Butter: "The recipe is secret, but I do use Floridian small farmer butter."
Photo courtesy of Gourmandj via Flickr