Last night I went to the opening of Bread Bar, a new cafe-bakery (and, in future, wine bar), and I'm really excited.
Disclaimer: A friend designed the space, and introduced me to some people, like one of the owners and one of the bakers (they have a separate bread baker and pastry baker!! Good sign), but I don't feel personally vested in their success at all. So there you go. It seems to be a French operation, btw.
I had bought some of the bread at Beverly Hills Cheese Shop, where I heard one of the counter guys raving about the baguette. It was pretty good... think I'd prefer the crust a little crunchier, but the inside was light and flavorful, not the horrible cottony fluff of some imitators. I also had some country bread, which was hearty and chewy. Liked it.
So at this party you could get any of the breads or pastries for free... I walked in, heard this, and made a beeline for a pain au chocolat. It was very nice - flaky without, tender within. Was it as good as the pain au chocolat in Paris that I decided was the best after months of tasting? Maybe not, but it was as good as any of those other Parisian bakeries, which is a fine start. There could've been a bit more chocolate, and it could've been more centered within the pain so you'd get some choc with every bite.
I had wondered a little bit about the wisdom of opening a bakery like this practically around the corner from perhaps its strongest rival, Boule, but in fact I think Bread Bar is quite different. Boule has the lovely, precious (and delicious) pastries; Bread Bar is about BREAD, and permutations thereof. The eventual plan is to turn it into a wine bar at night, with bread-y tapas. They're waiting on a license, so they think that'll happen around January.
8718 3rd st. (just E of Robertson)