Surely by now you’ve heard all the hoopla about Nathaniel Reid Bakery (NRB).
The Riverfront Times loved NRB. Whiskey and Soba raved about NRB. Ian Froeb of the Post-Dispatch gleamed about NRB. Yelpers gave NRB a perfect five star rating. Even Buzzfeed deemed NRB Missouri’s best bakery.
Admittedly we didn’t want to jump on the trendy NRB bandwagon, but being the good food bloggers and crazy dessert-obsessed people we are, we paid Nathaniel Reid Bakery a (couple of) visit(s) to see what all the fuss is about. Now we’re here to tell you to believe every single word of the hype.
Nathaniel Reid Bakery surpassed even our lofty expectations. In an unassuming location that’s as humble as Reid himself, Nathaniel Reid Bakery offers sophisticated desserts without the swanky price tag. It’s not just the tender, delicate pastries and savory sandwiches we enjoy. It’s the experience as a whole that’ll make us regulars at Reid’s Kirkwood store front.
The customer service is far superior to other places we’ve visited in the greater St. Louis area. Nathaniel and his wife, Lee Lee, work behind the counter with a smile, both taking time to personally speak with us to ensure a pleasant experience.
No task is too small for these co-owners, whether it’s pouring a cup of Kaldi’s coffee or boxing up a dozen Macarons. Sensing our dilemma of choice overload by our wide-eyed, gaping-mouthed expressions, the Reids were quick to offer a recommendation and had the patience of saints when it took us a solid 10 minutes to finally settle on an assortment of treats.
If the magnificent pastry case weren’t enough, there’s also a wall filled with grab-and-go packaged goodies like chocolates, jams, meringues, pound cakes, and dessert sauces to fawn over.
Nathaniel Reid Bakery is St. Louis’ mecca of desserts. You can’t go wrong with anything here.
We usually don’t review savory items, but after downing three slices of pie for lunch a couple of weekends ago, we figured we ought to eat something with sustenance. Besides, we also really wanted the Turkey Sandwich for a bite of Reid’s notoriously crackly croissants. We’re so glad we did, as these are some of the butteriest, flakiest, most perfect croissants you’ll ever taste.
As we sat there picking up every last morsel off the plate, we couldn’t help but dream up a new breakfast cereal: Nathaniel Reid Bakery Croissant Flakes. Granted we still have a few kinks to work out, such as how to keep the delicate flakes from succumbing to the milk, but that’s a minor detail …
Back to the Turkey Sandwich. Sauce Magazine deemed it the sandwich to end all sad, boring turkey sandwiches, and we couldn’t agree more. Thickly shaved smoked turkey breast and creamy slices of Havarti cheese are simply dressed with a slather of mayonnaise and mustard plus a sprinkling of salt and pepper. Reid’s delicate croissant doesn’t give way to this tall pile, but rather, sturdily supports its contents. If Reid can make something as simple as a Turkey Sandwich this delicious, we knew we were in for a real treat come dessert time.
The Amber is Reid’s signature individually portioned caramel pecan tart that showcases the pastry chef’s fondness of New Orleans pralines. Elegant and delectable, a sandy, buttery shortbread-esque sablé Breton is coated with pecan caramel and hoists a dome of caramel mousse, circled by caramelized pecans. For those brave enough to attempt recreating the Amber at home, go for it.
The miniature sunny Polynesia cake is surrounded by a whipped banana-passion fruit cream, covered in coconut mousse, and sprinkled with toasty shredded coconut. Think banana cake gets a tropical makeover for a lusciously zingy confection.
Caramel Apple Cream Puff
The layers of airy puff pastry, silky cream and crunchy oat crumble made for a pleasant mouthfeel. As the main component, the luxurious cream’s caramel and apple flavors were quite pronounced, albeit with a subtly twangy aftertaste.
Financier Almond Cake
This light, airy, sponge-type cake dusted with powdered sugar and sprinkled with almond slivers was a nice contrast to the other desserts’ flavor depths. Specks of lemon zest elevated the cake’s nutty, buttery flavor, making for a simple and delightful treat.
With a slightly different texture than other Macarons, those at Nathaniel Reid Bakery have a chewy bite satisfyingly contrasted by a silky buttercream-filled center. The Espresso and Salted Caramel were delicious, but the Pistachio had the most pronounced flavor and was our favorite among the three.
Reid’s tender, flaky croissant is taken to an entirely new level when bejeweled with dark chocolate, slathered with almond paste, and twice baked until crispy, crackly perfection. A sprinkling of toasted almond slivers and powdered sugar finishes off the masterpiece. If we were forced to choose only one Nathaniel Reid Bakery pastry, the Chocolate-Almond Croissant would be it.
We drank the Nathaniel Reid Bakery Kool-Aid, and now we’re believers, too. Needless to say, we’ll be back again … and again … and again.
If You Go …
Nathaniel Reid Bakery
11243 Manchester Road
Kirkwood, MO 63122