Anybody who loves pizza almost certainly likes bread, and I'm exhibit A, there. I've been to most of the bread bakeries around town - in fact, I've toyed with the idea of expanding this blog's scope to include bread - but it was only very recently that I finally made it to Baker Street Bakery on Park Avenue.
Baker Street opened, I believe, in 2007. There's a combination of reasons why it's taken me this long to get there, but I did stop in recently.
BSB doesn't offer pizza as such (which is one reason it's taken me this long), but they do offer focaccia, which to most of us would be indistinguishable from thick-crust, pan-baked pizza.The difference is more semantic than real.
I got a veggie slice, topped with artichoke hearts, mushrooms, sliced tomatoes, black olives, caramelized onions, and jalapenos.
At first glance, this would seem not to be something I'd go for. If I could only eat one kind of pizza for the rest of my life, it would probably be a thin-crust, foldable, New York style cheese slice.
This was the diametric opposite of that. It was enormous, and heavy. I ended up cutting it in half, for lunch, and saving the rest for the next day.
But despite my general preferences, I've always taken a catholic approach to pizza. Thick, thin, cheese-only or multiple toppings, any pizza can be good, if it's well made.
And this was good, whether you call it pizza or foccacia. The underside was evenly browned and dry to the touch. The interior was bubbly and nicely risen, and the crust was flavorful.
It was also well balanced. Despite its heft, this was not simply an overloaded slice of pizza. The toppings were added in proportion to the thick crust. I don't think I'll ever get over my distaste for mushrooms, but they blended in with the other toppings, which made for a flavorful medley. Slightly sweet, salty and savory, with a bit of kick in the background.
I will nitpick a bit, for the use of what seemed to be canned black olives. I'm OK with canned olives, but they don't quite match up with the non-canned, cured variety. The dusting of grated cheese also added little if any flavor or aroma; it had a powdery texture similar to ground bread crumbs.
Those quibbles aside, this made for an enjoyable lunch. A good base of bread dough, and a well-chosen blend of toppings.
Beyond foccacia, Baker Street offers a wide range of breads, including sourdough and whole-grain breads, as well as delectable pastries. In a perfect world, every town and neighborhood would have its own bakery, and in the central Park Avenue neighborhood, Baker Street fills that niche very nicely.
Baker Street Bakery
745 Park Ave.
Sun. - Mon. 6 a.m. - 2 p.m.
Tue. - Sat. 6 a.m. - 6 p.m.