Village Bakery's Boulangerie opened on Monday, and the entire block of Lower Greenville has broken into a feverish bout of Francophilia. The tables and chairs set outside of the bakery were all taken during a recent lunch hour, and more folks ate at a narrow counter than ran along the wall inside the space, while a line of customers perused pasties and sandwiches behind the glass counter.
It's a sight. Village Baking Co.'s display on University Avenue is impressive, but small and crowded. At Boulangerie, the case runs the length of the bakery touting sandwiches, pastries and croissants the size of slightly deflated footballs. Much is familiar, including pain au levin with enough sour to make you pucker, pain au chocolate and Kouign (queen) amann, but the extra counter space means Clint Cooper and his team have room to express a little more creativity. The new stuff is harder to look away from.
Of course there's a croque monsieur, and while this one looks absurdly good, it likely tastes a lot like the 17 other croque monsieur sandwiches you've had in you ham sandwich-eating days. Instead, even just once, try the jamon burre, which is a ham and cheese sandwich that does not require a fork and is aggressively slathered with European-style butter. The sandwich comes with a single pickled carrot, and after eating a few bites of fat three ways, the vinegar in this crunchy garnish explodes with acidity and flavor.
There are more sandwiches. I witnessed a defeated counter worker wandering the store as she looked for a home for a duck confit panini sweetened with cherries. (I almost took it.) There's a market sandwich that changes daily and a veggie sandwich for those who avoid eating things with parents. Then, of course, there are sweets.
The bakery closes at 7 p.m. right now, which is a shame because this space would make for such a great nightcap. Boulangerie offers a full coffee service, and these pastries are far better than the confections served up at most restaurants. I brought up the issue with a manager and rumors of an evening crêpe service swirled. The place is still new and settling in. Look for all sorts of interesting tweaks and changes in the future.
Boulangerie, 1921 Greenville Ave., (214) 821-3477