Tastings: G’s Bakery & Cafe
Midtown’s new French-inspired bakery introduces its made-from-scratch fare.
Romantics might imagine that Parisians spend all day strolling along the River Seine with a baguette under one arm and a pastry box filled with delicate treats in the other. Très chic. But you don’t have to go nearly that far to indulge in these goods. Midtown Mobilians can now have a little taste of the Parisian lifestyle as they stroll under the oaks of Dauphin Street toting a bag of freshly made French pastries or a warm baguette from G’s Bakery.
Open for breakfast, lunch and afternoon pick-me-ups, G’s Bakery & Cafe serves sandwiches and snacks centered around delicious, made-from-scratch baked goods. The croissants, available on both the breakfast and lunch menus, take five hours to complete — and they taste like it! Flaky layers of laminated dough are a difficult task for even seasoned bakers (this alone makes the trip worthwhile). The bagels are boiled then baked every morning at 3 a.m. when proprietor Gene Hansen arrives to heat the ovens and get the various doughs rolled and ready for the morning crowd. The artisan breads are the centerpiece of the lunch menu, with each sandwich presented on another unique loaf. Whatever you do, save room for dessert. The pastry display features tray after tray of delicate, decadent, exquisite treats that look as if they were flown in directly from Paris.
Hansen is an accomplished pastry chef with decades of experience in kitchens around the country. He got his initial training under a well-respected French chef, and his love for those delicate, Parisian recipes was lasting. Even as a hotel executive chef, pastry is where his heart remained. A quiet and unassuming man, he lights up when discussing how he glazes his tarts or proofs his breads. His hands seem most comfortable when working in the large bins of flour and sugar that line his workbench. Powdered sugar dusts the floor, and the room smells like butter.
G’s Bakery is the culmination of Hansen’s life working in other people’s kitchens while dreaming of his own. In Midtown, he’s set out to create a neighborhood spot where people feel comfortable spending the day with their laptop and an espresso and where kids come down on scooters for an after-school cinnamon roll. The cozy corner shop has ample parking, alfresco sidewalk seating and some of the friendliest servers. They even have a water bowl ready for your little French poodle (or whatever four-legged friend you bring along). The decor is simple and straightforward, but who’s looking with a dessert case as splendid as this?
On the Menu
Also known as a mille-feuille (French for “1,000 leaves”), this heavenly dessert, above left, features paper-thin “leaves” of homemade puff pastry separated by a decadent combination of pastry cream and whipped cream. A thin spread of apple jelly on one layer gives just a touch of sweetness and flavor to this elegant treat.
This traditional French apple tart features a delicate crust filled with pastry cream and topped with a beautiful arrangement of sliced apples. Baked until tender and slightly brown on the edges, the tart is then painted with apricot glaze for the perfect sheen. Voila.
Beef brisket is brined in-house for five days to give it just the right amount of saltiness, becoming that deli classic known as pastrami. Rich with the flavors of coriander, pepper and a slight kick of spice, it is topped with melted Swiss and Dijon. The sandwich, above right, is served on house-made marbled rye bread, as beautiful as it is delicious. The obligatory chips and pickle are on the side.