XO Bisous is a patisserie, breakfast and lunch spot at the bottom of an office tower just east of the Financial District. It's bright, clean, minimalist and elegant but mostly a take-out operation with only enough seating to accommodate 10 people.
Owned by trained pastry chef Genna Steckel, the restaurant features a French-inspired menu with breakfast offerings, sandwiches, soup and salads including gluten-free and vegan options.
We seat ourselves at one of the bar-height counters with clear views of the chalkboard menu.
From the list of breakfast items we try the Chia Seed Pudding ($5) made with chia seeds, almond milk, coco powder, cinnamon, kosher salt, banana, mixed berries, shaved coconut and coco nibs. It's dairy-, gluten- and sugar-free. It's surprisingly light - airy, almost. Before I know it I've reached the bottom of the cup.
From the lunch menu, we have the Tofu Salad ($12.50). The healthy salad is comprised of baby spinach, brown rice, edamame, peanuts, black sesame seeds, and tofu marinated overnight in sesame oil, tamari and rice vinegar before being baked 'til golden. Drizzled on top of all of that is a peanut-butter dressing.
The salad, which comes generously portioned, is light; it's easy to eat a lot of it. There's a pleasant contrasting of textures; the tofu is smooth and silky, and the edamame and peanuts provide a nice crunch.
Also from the lunch menu is the Roasted Vegetarian Sandwich ($7.50). Between two pieces of focaccia from Black Bird Baking Co. are roasted eggplant and zucchini; tomato that's been roasted overnight with olive oil, salt and pepper; house-made pesto; a generous amount of creamy goat cheese; and arugula.
We finish our meal with an impressive-looking Choux Ball ($4.50). It's like an eclair, but round - a kind of profiterole, I learn. We order the caramel-flavoured version. It's stuffed with a hunk of soft caramel, vanilla-mascarpone cream and caramelized apples. It's heavenly.
To drink, there's Propeller coffee and Sloane teas, as well as a variety of juices and smoothies made in house.
Photos by Hector Vasquez.