Some weeks ago I bemoaned the lack of great breakfast spots -- meaning American-style. Buena Vista Deli does not serve American-style breakfasts, but it does dish some of the finest French breakfast pastries in town.
While taking a seat on the outdoor patio that runs up Northeast 46th Street is not quite the same as sitting by the Seine, especially now that construction along this stretch has slogged southward, the tree-lined neighborhood is peaceful in the morning.
And seriously, the pithivier I had fresh from the oven, filled with a soft sweet frangipane of almond, was equal to those my wife and I have enjoyed in the cafés of Montmartre.
The croissant aux amandes (almond croissant) is just as good, a buttery almond flavor seeped into the interior, the darkly baked crust flecked with nuts and powdered sugar. It was one of our 100 Favorite Dishes last year; BVD's leek soup was one of our favorites this year. And the neighborly French bakery/market/cafe also copped Best Deli 2010 in our Best of Miami issue. But for now we come to praise the breakfast pastries.
Co-owners Claude Postel and Corentin Finot debuted Buena Vista Deli in January of 2010, as a sequel to the successful sister Buena Vista Bistro up the block. Corentin operates the front of the house with efficient French charm; Claude makes the amazing pastries.
Breakfast is served from 7 to 11 a.m. (rule-of-thumb for bakery/cafes: the earlier the better). There are combo breakfasts like L'express: coffee or tea, toasted bread, homemade jelly ($3.50). That doesn't sound real exciting, although the mixed berry jelly is chock full of strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, maybe other berries.
For another $1.45 you can upgrade to The 7 a.m.: coffee or tea, fruit salad, croissant. There is also a breakfast special that includes yogurt and granola, and one that stars a Spanish omelet. You can get a bagel with cream cheese too, but that's missing the point.
The best breakfast here is choice of coffee or tea with one of Postel's pastries. It needn't even be a baked good associated with breakfast -- nothing says you can't start your day with a couple of chocolate eclairs. They're very good here.
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Second best breakfast choice outside of pastries would probably involve a wedge of the quiche. I know quiche involves eggs, cream, often ham or cheese -- all breakfast items -- but I think of it more as a lunch food. In fact, if you're going to start your day with quiche, might as well substitute a glass of wine for the coffee. Or not. But until we get a great American breakfast house, a great Continental breakfast will just have to do.