Michaeli Bakery opened about two weeks ago on the edge of Lower East Side and Chinatown. This bakery sells a multinational array of baked goods, with a nod to some Jewish classics like babka, rugelach and challah. It’s a small to-go kind of bakery since there’s about eight chairs with a bar to sit in front and a bench for outdoor seating. This smallness does make room for you to talk to the staff members and chat about the pastries and it makes it feel like a neighborhood kind of place.
The chef and owner, Adir Michaeli, an Israeli, worked in Tel Aviv and then came to New York to be the pastry chef at Breads Bakery.
If you walk in to this bakery you might see a few similar pastries from his former company but it’s different in regards to the sugar levels (it’s slightly less sweeter which is better, in my opinion). Also, Chef Michaeli wants to focus more on the pastries than bread.
All of their baked goods are delicious and you can find something that could fulfil your sweet or salty tooth. Everything was not overtly sweet and their savory burekas (it’s truly a must try) had wonderful flavors without being too salty.
What you might be thrown off is the domed glass filled with alfajores cookies, which is Latin American rather than coming from American, French or Israeli traditions. Their version of the alfajores is actually lighter and delicate in texture and the dulce de leche filling isn’t as sweet compared to a number of alfajores cookies I’ve had.
For those who want the lightest hint of sweet, I think the best bet is to have their individual sized kugelhopf, it’s a sugar encrusted yeasted cake filled with raisins and slivered almonds, pain aux raisin or the almond croissant filled with marzipan. The former looks sweet but the actual bread-like cake is barely sweetened and it balances everything. As for the the almond croissant, the marzipan is just sweet enough and the flaky, buttery croissant was delicious.
The ones who want the intense chocolate experience, you should seek the chocolate babka (if you want more chocolate, look for a larger sunken middle as Adir informed me) and the chocolate rugelach, especially when it’s still warm from the oven.
You shouldn’t sleep on their log cakes. These log cakes are basically narrow, rectangular layer cakes that are moist, flavorful and delicious. The chocolate log cake is almost death by chocolate with layers of chocolate cake and rich dark chocolate ganache. Black forest cake has some chocolate but tempered by the cherries and whipped cream. I had shared the coconut mango cake with my friends and family and we swooned how great each flavor shined and it felt light on the palate.
The packaged cookies flavors change time to time and the weekend I was there, tahini cookies and raspberry bars were available. The raspberry bars were beautifully acidic balancing the buttery shortbread cookie base nicely and the tahini cookies were sweet enough, crumbly, buttery and not too bitter from the tahini.
115 Division Street
New York, NY 10002
Phone: (646) 360-2284