City Bakery opened in October, replacing East Village pizza spot Bagni di Lucca. The restaurant belongs to Nicolas Percheron and La Mie owners Joe and Christina Logsdon, and City Bakery’s vibe certainly echoes the rustic, minimalist look of La Mie.
Menu options are written on a large chalkboard on the east wall. Simple bulbs hang from the industrial, white ceiling. Table surfaces are black and gray, creating a blank canvas that spotlights the food items on display where customers order. Simon & Garfunkel and James Taylor played in the background while we dined, giving the space a breezy, laid-back atmosphere. City Bakery is a weekday oasis — it’s not just a place to eat, but also a place to escape the sight of office cubicles for an hour or so.
The menus differ between the two Logsdon establishments, however. While La Mie has a French focus, City Bakery serves pizza recipes refined from Bagni di Lucca’s menu (Percheron notes a thinner, crispier crust), as well as sandwiches, salads, bakery items and soups. The choices are creative and thoughtful. The Roquefort- beet salad caught my eye, as did the SLT (salmon, lettuce and tomato) sandwich.
The pizza slices also are appetizing, and the meatball-mushroom and spinach-ricotta stood out to me. Slices cost $5 or $6 each but are generously-sized at around one-quarter of a pie each.
We snagged our window-side booth just before the lunch rush on a Thursday afternoon, and by the time we finished, nearly all the tables in the small space were filled. Service was friendly and our food came out in a very reasonable amount of time.
My dining partner ordered the smoked salmon salad. A pile of thinly-sliced salmon was artistically draped over a bed of spinach decorated with sliced hard-boiled eggs, avocado, onions and olives. A creamy dressing with a spicy, horseradish kick topped the salad. He’s trying to cut out carbs and liked this as a fresh, healthy option, he said.
I ordered the chicken pesto sandwich — a hearty piece of chicken layered with cheese, greens, roasted red pepper and a deliciously fresh pesto sauce, all served on a homemade bagel. The bagel was thick enough to grip, but not so dense that it was impossible to bite into. I opted for a side salad, which was light and refreshing.
City Bakery is a lovely spot for lunchtime dining in the East Village. Opt for an early or late lunch, because the place is buzzing during the noon hour.
Smoked salmon salad …………………… $7.95
Chicken pesto sandwich and side salad …………… $7.95
Total with tax: $17.91
Find it: 407 E. Fifth St.
Hours: 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Monday through Friday