Many new bakeries are opening in New York this year—Ole & Steen, Bourke Street Bakery and Michaeli Bakery—but none excites us as much about carbo-loading as Pilar Cuban Bakery, which opened back in February. At the decade-old Pilar Cuban Eatery’s new Bed-Stuy sister spot, owner-chef Ricardo Barreras rethinks breakfast with underused-in-NYC Cuban ingredients. The casual menu is perfect for on-the-go bites. Or stay and nosh amid the kitsch of Miami cafés: an ’80s-style painting of a papaya, a fake marlin, geometric pastel tiling and a spunky neon sign that displays the shop’s name. The pressed-to-order Cuban sandwich ($12) starts with slow-roasted pork in a sour-orange marinade, then adds smoky ham, just the right amount of gooey Swiss cheese, pickles and a coffee-infused mustard. The pastelitos, such as the ground-beef Spanish empanada ($4.50), could supplant a New Yorker’s go-to morning bagel: But while this pastry exhibits the same buttery, savory warmth, it’s dipped in house made cilantro or hot sauce. Try them alongside a café con leche ($4.50 with condensed milk)—so strong that one shot down the hatch induces caffeine jitters. Besides well-done classics, the daily specials include adulce de leche brownie, a guava crumb cake, a mojito cupcake and other modern treats. We opted for a slice of the tropical layer cake ($7); the sweet dessert was a bit too brittle, but the passionfruit buttercream, dollops of guava and coconut shreds
gave it a little moisture.Taking its name from Ernest Hemingway’s fishing boat, Pilar has sailed into landlocked Bed-Stuy—if you close your eyes, you might just hear waves lapping in the distance.
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