One of the greatest thing about New York City is that you can get a taste of different country – culture, food, art, etc – right here without getting on a plane. We decided to explore some Russian culture one weekend, and we made sure to get some sweets as well. Actually, getting sweets somehow became our number one priority, especially after discovering that this one spot was featured on “Best Thing I Ever Ate” show from few years ago.
There were lots of “locals” shopping baked goods and sweets. The entrance area was a bit narrow, with register to the right and shelves with lots of yummy looking items. I appreciate they put the labels in English, even though I still didn’t understand what everything was…
After you passed the register counter, the store becomes much larger, with refrigerated items (mainly cakes) on the left, and all sorts of baked goods on the right, back, and in the middle. The selection was endless, I saw some bread, cookies, rainbow cake (?) and so much more!
They had huge plastic bags and containers, and you can fill them with the items of choice, as they are sold by pounds. Most of them were &6.99 per pound, and you get pretty good amount, since they are not heavy. As I looked around the store, I guess I could not contain my happiness and joy, it must have been pretty obvious. One of the local shopper looked and me said “looks really great, isn’t it?” with a smile. I was already smiling looking at all the sweets and baked goods, and simply replied “YES!”
After looking through all of their offerings, we decided to get some of their “Mutaki” ($6.99/lbs) in different flavors. We didn’t really know what they were, but it seemed like pastries with fillings, and they offered chocolate, apricot, cherry, and sweet cheese. We filled up a plastic container, putting about 4 of them each. What we really didn’t know until later was that they are not really “Russian” pasty, but they are from Azerbaijan! Oh well, it was really good regardless. It was light, and the size was perfect for afternoon tea. The apricot and cherry filling was very good, with preservatives, and the chocolate was overly too sweet, and sweet cheese was pretty nice also. We were happy with all of them.
We also picked up some Coconut Macaroons ($6.99/lbs). We knew macaroon really didn’t have much to do with Russia, but since my husband likes them and they were homemade, we decided to get them. They had regular ones and also the ones that was half covered in chocolate (also $6.99/lbs). We filled another plastic container with half regular and half chocolate covered. They were very nice and fluffy, airy, chewy, sweet and tasty.
Then, we looked for the main item that brought us here. A sour cream cake called Smetannik that was also sold by pound. We found it in the refrigerated section, among other really nice looking cakes and desserts. So, here, you get just the amount of cake you want, by telling them how thick you want them to cut, and there you have it.
A young female staff assisted us with the cake purchase, who was really nice and sweet. She put the slice in a plastic container, and it was pretty heavy, I could tell it would be super rich. We got some forks and sat on the chair right out side the Café. They only have 1 table and few chairs outside, no eating space in the inside. Lucky for us, some elderly customers were just finishing up and leaving the table, so we grabbed it as soon as they left.
The total came out to be $14.60. That was pretty surprisingly cheap for the amount that we bought! We had a large plastic container full of Mutaki, small container full of Macaroons, and a thick slice of heavy sour cream cake. I thought this was a great deal overall.
We had some hot green tea with us in the Thermos, which went perfectly with the decadent, sweet, rich cake. And I mean really rich and decadent. We got pretty nice size slice, so it was good that we were sharing. I don’t think I could finish the slice if it were just me. It was really delicious, great quality cake that you know takes a lot of time and effort to make. I don’t even know how many layers the cake had. It was nice and soft, creamy, and certainly gives you a big sugar rush! You really want to have some sort of hot, unsweetened tea with this, it really goes great together. It is not a cake that I would have often, since it is so heavy, but will be a great afternoon dessert on some special occasion.
I really enjoyed the entire experience here at this bakery. Everyone was sweet, including local customers. They could tell we were not the “locals” since we did not look Russian, and we were gazing into everything passionately. And one older gentleman approached me while I was getting plastic containers and lids that was stacked high on a top shelf. He did not speak a word of English but we managed to communicate. He wanted me to get the lid for him since he could not reach it (he was a pretty short gentleman). As I handed him the lid, he smiled and said “Spasibo” which was soooo cute! I wish if I knew how to say “your welcome” in Russian…
This is a great spot to go back to, with so many different offerings, the choices are endless. And they are pretty cheap, not mention very high quality. When you have so many locals, including elders, then you know they have the goods that are both authentic and delicious. I can’t wait to try other sweets and baked goods that they have, it all looked so wonderful. Maybe when the Summer comes, we would go back there while visiting the beach!
Bakery La Brioche Café – 1073 Brighton Beach Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11235