Arsicault Bakery

on 2022-09-27

Overall: A

# of visits: 2

  1. original location on Arguello during Tour de SF Bakery ride on 2021-08-28.

  2. new location on McAllister on 2022-09-27. This location is on the border of very bad neighborhood. I got really lucky finding a car park right in front of shop on my first visit there. I haven't managed to go back since. If you couldn't park close by, you'd drive right into the heart of zombie zone in SF. I doubt if I will visit this location again, despite of my interest in bread options only in this location.

It offers classic French staples.

The croissant base is solid, as it's best known for. Textbook lamination and point-on buttery-ness. All croissants across the board have good flavor. However, twice-baked croissants are a tad bit weak in structure. While the fillings are moist, the layers are not as distinct. Other pastries like scones and morning buns are top tier among their categories. All scones are rectangle shaped maximizing the super delicious crispy corner bites.

I'd give A+ if twice-baked croissants are more airy and less gooey.

Best of the best

Plain Croissant - A must try. Thin flakey crust with the perfect amount of browning. Pleasantly crispy yet not too hard. Tender and stretch honeycomb layers. A sign of strong gluten and good lamination. Just the right amount of butter gives out plenty of aroma but none excess at hands.

Kouign Amann - Another quintessential. Deeply caramelized crust, just like Crème brûlée top. Inside is tight yet still distinct laminated layers. Inheriting all the nice features of plain croissant, buttery and light, the caramel crust adds crunchy textural contrast and complex caramel flavor with hints of vanilla and butterscotch. It's all you can ask for from laminated dough and more.

Savory/Sweet Scone - Excellent texture, crispy buttery corner and tender flaky layers. Well seasoned dough base with point-on fillings. Savory one with tasty bacon bits, cheddar and herbs. Best part is the extra cheesy and crispy corner bites, heaven. Sweet one with sweet and sour cranberries plenty pulpy and coconut shreds for additional texture.

Honorable mentions

Morning Bun - A cross between croissant and brioche. The exterior is closer to laminated layers and the interior is more fluffy airy crumbs. The cap is coated with gooey caramel. Cinnamon is permeated inside out. A bit on the sweet side with all the cinnamon sugar dusting. But still the best kind of cinnamon bun.

Almond Croissant - Thick layer of almond cream sandwiched between half sliced plain croissant and on top. The center almond cream has vanilla and bourbon notes. Amazing flavor, subtle yet complex. Great texture too, smooth and gooey. The top almond cream turns into almond biscuit, adding more crispiness to the double-baked crust. Jamy center and crunchy top is what I'm looking for. Everything is great except the croissant base, especially the bottom half, is a bit flattened and thus laminated layers are squeezed together, losing the original airiness. It might be a result of the weight of generous almond cream filling, or its moisture seeping into the croissant base, or simply due to stacking. The lack of distinct layers in the base only makes a nit sensational difference. It feels more substantial instead of light on the bites. Very enjoyable nonetheless. To quote my guest reviewer A, "It's like S-tier getting run over. Still tastes great. Does it really matter?". To be more critical, I magnify the issue and put it out of "best of the best ''.

Hazelnut Blackberry Croissant - Similar ups and downs as almond croissant. More gooey croissant base probably due to the additional jam makes layers stick more. It's the first time I've seen hazelnuts used in croissants. The subtle Nutella reminisce is a not-too-surprisingly brilliant flavor novelty. Big bonus for that. There is no chocolate at all but somehow you'd imagine chocolate and blackberry is more fruity under the imaginary chocolaty background. The only critique is still the slightly damp and flat base.

Could be better

Apple Turnover - Great apple filling. Gooey and custardy. Has a noticeable hint of vanilla. The shell is made of laminated dough. Can see the layers however not very crispy. Might be due to steam and the next day tasting. There are some burned bits around the edge at the bottom from leaked out syrup.