Bouchon Bakery Doesn’t Serve Your Average Tuna Sandwich
Last month, the highly anticipated Bouchon Bakery opened in Rockefeller Center, bringing high end pastries and sandwiches to the grateful lunchers of Midtown central. I waited a few weeks for the lines to die down, and in the meantime, began hearing my co-workers rave about the tasty, yet pricey sandwiches – the standouts being the slow roasted pork sandwich ($11.25) and the grilled cheese & tomato soup combo ($11.25). Spurred on by the favorable reviews, I finally stopped by to try these fancy pants sandwiches.
Of course our MO at Midtown Lunch is an affordable lunch, and food by one of the greatest Chefs in America, Thomas Keller, is going to be anything but that. However on the savory menu at Bouchon Bakery, there’s a ham & cheese for $9, and a tuna niçoise sandwich for $9.95, which I can promote with confidence.
The Salade Niçoise reconstructed as a sandwich recreates all of the familiar flavors of the French classic, sandwiching tuna, crispy bibb lettuce and the briny tang of black olives between a lovely spongy and pliant roll. They apply a generous layer of tuna salad, which has just enough mayo to mellow and moisten the tuna, but not enough to overpower or cause the sandwich to be overly heavy and greasy.
On the other hand, the oven smoked turkey sandwich ($10.95) didn’t win me over like the tuna sandwich did. Sure, it’s a fine turkey sandwich, and certainly made with quality ingredients. But for the price, I wished for a bit more turkey, and a bit more flavor and texture – perhaps some pickles and crunchy bacon could have brought something to the show. I also found it to be oddly on the sweet side, and the raw red onions dominated the rest of the flavors.
Of course you can’t leave Bouchon Bakery without a TKO (Thomas Keller Oreo – $3.50) in tow, and these Oreos on steroids live up to the hype. A pair of crumbly, toasty, and subtle chocolate cookies sandwich a white chocolate ganache, which is much milkier and smoother than the standard Oreo filling. It’s a cookie for grown-ups in its subtle, not overly sweet flavors, but you’ll immediately feel like a kid again as soon as you take a bite. If I ever need to bribe a co-worker, brown nose to my boss, or woo a romantic interest, I’d go with a TKO – they’re irresistible.
I had no doubt that Bouchon Bakery would deliver excellent product, but to do so for under $10 would be difficult. However, one can still eat reasonably well by ordering carefully, and splurging a bit at times. And in this case a splurge for a bite of food from the kitchen of Thomas Keller is a well intentioned splurge indeed.
Bouchon Bakery, One Rockefeller Plz (on 49th btw. 5+6th), 212-782-3890