Let’s Begin Dinner By Carb Loading: A Dozen Delicious Restaurant Bread Baskets

There’s a reason why it’s called “breaking bread.” Offering up bread at the beginning of a meal is an age-old gesture of hospitality, a way to make guests feel welcome as soon as they sit down. Rather than simply offer soft rolls and hard butter, plenty of restaurants are offering boss breads. We’re talking the likes of crème frâiche biscuits, Gruyere-laced popovers, and jalapeno cornbread muffins. The kind of stuff that makes you forget you’re on a carb-free diet. Here are a dozen delicious restaurant bread baskets (with apologies to our gluten-free diners – look away!).

Birch & Barley, Washington, D.C.
There’s a word that always makes us smile when we’re dining out: free. The thing is, we would happily pay for this bangin’ bread board, but we’re more than happy to enjoy it on the house. The selections rotate regularly, but it might include a pretzel roll, a crème frâiche biscuit, and an olive roll.

Best Restaurant Bread Baskets

Barton G The Restaurant, Los Angeles, California
There’s a bit of magic at work here. When your bread comes to the table, you’ll probably think that the server accidentally brought out some dessert doughnuts instead. Actually, the rounds are savory, finished off with basil, cheddar, pink peppercorn, and black truffle “frostings.”

Best Restaurant Bread Baskets

Urban Farmer Steakhouse, Cleveland, Ohio
Hey, nice cans! The tin tubes are used to bake mini silos of cornbread for dinner service. During brunch, they hold zucchini bread, which gets a shower of freshly grated chocolate when served.

Best Restaurant Bread Baskets

Andiron Steak & Sea, Las Vegas, Nevada
Meet the pop stars of the bread basket world. These Gruyere-laced popovers boast a crackly crust. The warm puffs arrive with whipped butter dusted with black Hawaiian lava salt.

Best Restaurant Bread Baskets

Chauhan Ale & Masala House, Nashville, Tennessee
Chef Maneet Chauhan serves an Indian-inspired bread basket. Freshly baked naan is accompanied by a selection of seasonal chutneys, sauces, and butters. Selections in the past have included spicy pineapple chutney and traditional raita.

Best Restaurant Bread Baskets

Osso Steakhouse, San Francisco, California
A boule of sourdough topped off with rosemary and garlic is very nice. It’s even better when it arrives in a small cast iron skillet brimming with a creamy chorizo sauce. And it’s even better still when it’s finished off with a shower of cheddar cheese and quickly baked. Certifiably addictive.

Best Restaurant Bread BasketsContinue Reading

Queen Seeks Chef; Farm-to-Table Restaurants Now Just Called Restaurants + More News

BreadFood and dining news from around the web and the world…

* Can you cook dishes fit for the Queen? She’s looking for a new chef. [Daily Mail]

* Bread crimes. They’re a real thing. [Calgary Herald]

* Is saying ‘farm-to-table restaurant’ redundant? Possibly — because most restaurants are sourcing from local farms. [Atlanta Journal Constitution]

* Chef: The Movie. Jon Favreau is set to do for chefs what he did for struggling actors and hipsters with Swingers. [Indie Wire]

* Are celebrity chefs making you fat? Maybe? [Time]Continue Reading

Is Bread Worth Your Hard-Earned Dough?

bread.jpgNew York Times restaurant critic Frank Bruni took to the Diner’s Journal to defend restaurants that charge for bread. Earlier, the New York Post had taken issue with the practice, but Mr. Bruni sees nothing wrong with it, pointing out that even free bread really isn’t free as well as the fact that the restaurant in question lists bread and butter (and its pricing) on their menus.

I usually eschew bread when dining out, so I probably wouldn’t order it if I had to pay for it (unless I’d heard it was spectacular!) and I’m not sure I’d be disappointed if it weren’t provided. But, I’m just one diner. I asked some of our Facebook friends to weigh in on the topic, and almost everyone appreciated bread and butter (or the equivalent of it, depending on the cuisine).

What do you think about bread? Is it a must-have? Would you pay a bit extra for an outstanding baguette and butter? Chime in here or join the conversation on our Facebook page.