Bee Desserts and Cafe NYC
There are two excellent reasons for stopping by Bee Desserts and Cafe, newish in the West Village, anytime between right now and, say, late October. First, this laid-back, Brazilian-infused bakery and casual-food cafe has a lovely garden out back, with rough-hewn benches, tippy chairs, odd little sculptures, and good-looking patrons who seem like they've been lingering back here all afternoon. This sort of quiet, hidden-feeling outdoor space is fairly common in East Village eateries, less so in the West. The second reason why it's never a bad time for Bee Desserts? Owner and baker Claudia Steves's signature sweet, the Chocolate-covered Honey Cakes. Get them to stay, with a cup of Bee's great strong black coffee, or bring a bunch of these beauties home as a treat for the family. We've tried the regular, the almond and the marshmallow honey cakes, and all were winners: sugary and moist, delightfully spongy, with a depth of flavor surprising for something that at first glance looks like a Ring Ding.
Bee Desserts and Cafe has lots of other sweets and savories on offer as well, many prepared with a Brazilian flair. The plate of Brazilian bites was too much of a deep-fried good thing for our tastes, but each individual piece was fine, and we especially enjoyed the shrimp and creamy-corn croquette, as well as the mash-up of bulgar wheat, beef and mint. We've been craving the Brazilian specialty pao de quejo–basically: cheesy balls of chewy dough–since the closure of the great Puff and Pao on Christopher Street a few years back, but, sadly, the Cheese Bread on the Bee Desserts menu, while perfectly adequate, isn't the insanely satisfying snack that we've been longing for.
Bee Desserts and Cafe has a whole section of crepes as well (there are lots of interesting-sounding sandwiches, too, as well as some salads and pastas). We tried the generously-stuffed Brazilian Sausage crepe last night, complete with plenty of stringy mozzarella, and this was a fine summer supper, especially when we poured on the vinegary hot sauce. We finished the proceedings NOT with a Chocolate Honey Cake, unfortunately, but rather with a slice of Chocolate Brigadeiro, which was waxy and surprisingly bland, considering its ingredient list of 1. chocolate, 2. butter, and 3. condensed milk. The coffee was again terrific, though.
Bee Desserts and Cafe Details
Bee Desserts and Cafe is located on Greenwich Avenue between West 12th and West 13th Streets, and is open every day from 9:00 a.m. until 11:00 p.m.