Sunday, May 11, 2014

Bread Furst Opens in Van Ness

Corn Rye Bread

Like it or not, Connecticut Avenue tends to die off a bit once you pass the Van Ness-UDC Metro station. Many places have tried to conquer this tricky patch of real estate; yet most have failed. There have been umteen pizza joints (including Ledo Pizza and Pizza Hut) Boston Market, Schlotzsky's Deli, and most recently Quiznos. Big names, one & all... but unable to join Burger King and Tesoro as neighborhood mainstays. What this area needed was a local star... a proven winner. Enter Mark Furstenberg, the first and perhaps only name in the DC bread business. The creative genius behind Breadline and Marvelous Market is back, with the eagerly anticipated Bread Furst... a glossy bakery, basked in white and overflowing with delicious looking, carb-laden delights.

Bread Furst officially opened last Tuesday after a few dry runs, and "Van Nessians" have been lining up ever since. Today (Mother's Day) was especially busy; but the upbeat staff seems eager to take on all comers (even some of the ruder locals, I had the misfortune to stand in front of... Dude/dudettes, it's just bread... relax, you'll get some.) Then again, maybe they were just excited to find Bread Furst in the first place.

If not for a constant stream of customers filing in & out, I can see how you might have trouble finding it. For starters, there's no signage outside (save for some hard to read writing on the glass windows.) The former tenants (W.C. & A.N. Miller Realtors) used to have a big, blue awning; and I can only hope Furstenberg has plans to do the same (over outdoor tables & chairs, of course.) Once you get inside however, it's absolutely gorgeous... with several cozy tables lined up against the wall. They're a bit exposed (the main line practically sits atop your conversations) but the tables are clean & spacious, with room to maneuver. The other side is a visual marvel, with a mouth-watering assortment of loaves and baguettes and a long stretch of (at the moment) underused space that culminates in a nondescript, mobile checkout area (sadly no cash register, only iPads.) In-between, you'll find a few muffins and/or scones on display; but not enough to match demand. More treats please!

Service was a tad slow, but quite friendly. They make bread throughout the day; but I was hoping for more choices at just a minute or two past noon. What they did have, looked incredible. I asked for a loaf of Corn Rye bread (pictured above) for $6.50. Not cheap, but D-E-L-I-C-I-O-U-S. It's likely to become my new Sunday favorite, with its distinctive charred taste and fiber-rich rye (which is great for folks who have to watch their blood sugar.)

They carry MADCAP coffee, and offer various doughnuts, muffins, salads & sandwiches. Baguettes are made fresh every four hours. Count on several return visits/updated reviews. Dinner service is slated to start soon; but carry-out is currently available for Fisherman's stew, Greek Shepherd's Pie (with lamb) and a few other surprises (in addition to standard fare such as PB&J and roast beef sandwiches.)

So far, so good delicious.