Thursday, July 16, 2015

Ellie's Bakery

There is a beautiful relationship in Downtown Providence, Rhode Island between an award winning restaurant and a bakery. The former is Gracie's, one of my favorite restaurants in the state, with fantastic, inventive seasonal menus to impress any gastronome.

Down the street, the latter, Ellie's Bakery serves up breakfast and lunch bakery-style items, like sandwiches, soup, quiche, and other baked goods. Their relationship with Gracie's offers all of the bread served up at their sister restaurant, as well as macarons following dessert, and small chocolate chip cookies deposited by the valet drivers into customers' cars.

I've visited Ellie's several times over the past few months, and have been incredibly pleased by the wonderful variety of seasonal sandwiches and delicious baked items. The staff is also incredibly pleasant, and the small and intimate seating area with bar stools framing two walls is minimal, but in conjunction with some additional outdoor seating out front should be ample for those who choose to dine in.

I've waxed poetic about Ellie's breads during my review of Gracie's, and even shared a recipe for my favorite bread of all, the Honey-Glazed Beer Bread. Upon visiting Ellie's myself, I've tried out one of their mini baguettes, flavored with olives and caramelized onions. It's utterly delicious, and a wonderfully addictive treat!

I've also tried several of their sandwiches, which do change quite regularly. Back in March I was very pleased with both their Duck Confit and Flank Steak Sandwiches. I don't recall the exact details in all the time that has passed, but I would have gladly eaten either of them again.

Most recently, I've tried the Mustard Crusted Pickle Roll with House Cured Ham, Apricot & Golden Raisin Mostarda, Charred Radicchio, Swiss & Pickles. This is perhaps my favorite of the sandwiches I've tried thus far. The bread is wonderfully chewy with a mild mustardy flavor. The ham is exquisite, and the sweet mostarda is just the perfect pairing. The Swiss and pickles round out the flavors and leave us with a sandwich reminiscent of a reinvented Cubano.

I also recently tried the Baguette with Slow Cooked Pork Belly, Bell Pepper Relish, Gruyere, Arugula, Spicy Mayo. The bread is beautifully crusty, and the pork belly is superbly tender. This is another great option, although much richer than the ham. I actually have a love/hate relationship with pork belly (I sometimes find it to be just too fatty--I know, I know), which is perhaps why it's not my personal favorite.

For dessert, I've tried out several pastries, including some of the quick breads (all of them have been lovely), and a chocolate covered brioche (filled with custard, no less), which was rich and decadent.

The Kouign Amann seemed promising, but just does not live up to my expectations. It's not nearly sugary/crusty enough on the exterior, and it just felt very dense inside in comparison with the wonderful flaky Kouign Amann I've eaten at Dominique Ansel Bakery in NYC. For someone who has never tried one before, I'm sure they will love it, but it's just sub-par in my opinion. You can almost tell just by looking at it--it's not puffed up and crackly at all, looks very flat and timid. The flavor is good, but the texture just isn't right. Maybe needs more yeast and a better coating of sugar on the outside before baking?

A wonderful sweet finish can definitely be found with the chocolate covered Oreo. In terms of naughty Oreo treats, it's second in my heart to deep-fried Oreos, but those are really hard to compete with :)

Ellie's Bakery is an addictive, intimate, warm, and cozy bakery inspired by the Parisian way of life, all in the heart of Providence. If you're a local, or even a visitor to our lovely little city, please visit Ellie's on your way through and try some of their excellent baked goods and sandwiches!

Ellie's Bakery
61 Washington St
Providence, RI 02903
(401) 228-8118


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