I’ve lived in a charming, low-key ethnic neighborhood near the Graham Avenue L train station in Williamsburg, Brooklyn for almost 14 years, so I remember a time when the only restaurant was a traditional Italian-American eatery called Cono’s O’Pescatore. While I’ve got nothing against Cono’s, there are only so many times per year that I can sit down to an old school red sauce meal.
Well, in the time that I’ve been here, my little ‘hood has blossomed with great places to dine. I knew things had really changed when the hip Motorino pizzeria opened up last year; it has since been given the New York Times’ blessing as Best Pizza in New York. Finally, a destination restaurant right on my corner! The renaissance continued with other wonderful places like Variety Coffee (with their delicious Stumptown roasts and creative barristas) and Sel de Mer, a sure bet for stellar seafood. How things have changed.
Recently, I decided to wander a little further than the two blocks it takes to get to the subway, and made it all the way down to the Blue Stove bakery on Graham at Withers St. I felt like I’d come home to the old-fashioned Southern bakery that I’d never actually experienced in real life. It’s my fantasy bakery come true, complete with kerchief-wearing and fair-skinned maidens serving everything with a smile. Kind of like the sun-kissed old-fashioned bakery in the movie Waitress (a movie I loved, by the way).
Blueberry muffin and a caffe latte
I felt happy just to be inside the place, but then I tasted the baked goods and knew that this would be favorite hangout. Every pastry I tasted on that day and over the course of my visits has been, well, perfect. I don’t go in for super-sweet items much, preferring baked goods of the dry and coffee dipping-worthy variety, so I’ve enjoyed wonderful scones and muffins here with tender flaky insides just as good as their crunchy tops. Of course because it’s a pie joint, I’ve tasted those, and the apple, pumpkin, and raspberry were all exactly what you’d hope they’d be. That is, not too sweet and with a delicate and flaky crust. A friend suggested with a sidelong glance that perhaps they use lard or shortening to get such a fine crust. Honestly, I don’t care. When I have a hankering for something sweet, I want it to taste like the real thing, and for those special occasions I like full fat and enough sugar.
There are items here more thrilling than the straightforward ones I favor, like a rich bourbon chocolate cake, key lime pie, and, of course, red velvet cupcakes. I’ve heard good things about all of these items, too. But for me, half the pleasure of the place is its calm, soothing, feminine energy, with light pouring in through the front windows, antique cooking tools placed tastefully about, and the pretty lasses behind the counter. It would not be the same without the soft touch of the staff and the gentle colors and ambience of the room, made complete by the namesake stove that holds down the middle as a stand for coffee condiments.
I went online and couldn’t find a dedicated website for The Blue Stove, so I can’t give the link or a full menu here. However, this menu that was up on my last visit should give you a good idea of what kind of selection to expect, and trust me, it’s all good. . .
The Blue Stove Bakery, 415 Graham Avenue in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY 11211 (718) 766-7419