100 Favorite Dishes: No. 41, Biscuit With Crème Fraîche and Marmalade at Blacksmith
This year, leading up to our annual Menu of Menus® issue, Kaitlin Steinberg counts down her 100 favorite dishes as she eats her way through Houston. She'll compile a collection of the dishes she thinks are the most awesome, most creative and, of course, most delicious in town. It's a list of personal favorites, things she thinks any visitor or Houstonian ought to try at least once and dishes that seem particularly indicative of the ever-changing Houston foodscape.
Photos by Kaitlin Steinberg Blacksmith's simple biscuit is the ideal breakfast.
Blacksmith recently celebrated its one-year anniversary, and the line of customers snaking out the door waiting to grab some grub and party with the people who've helped to make the place great was a testament to the quality of the products served at the small coffee shop.
It is, of course, best known for its coffee. In fact, when I was there recently a small coffee class of sorts was taking place on one side of the bar as baristas and a few interested parties discussed the fine points of coffee service. It was fascinating to listen to them try to identify different types of coffee from different areas based on taste and smell. It was almost like hearing master sommeliers talk about wine.
I don't go to Blacksmith for the coffee, though. I go for the biscuits.
The biscuit recipe was developed by Erin Smith, formerly of Clumsy Butcher and now easing into her new job as executive chef at the as-yet unfinished JW Marriott Hotel downtown. These biscuits are one of the most popular menu items at Blacksmith, and one of the dishes that Smith gets the most hat tips for. They're simple, yes, as biscuits are. But they're also perfection, in a way that most biscuits are not.
Crispy and slightly flaky on the outside, soft and buttery on the inside.
I think the secret is in the amount of butter used. Blacksmith's biscuits are perhaps the most buttery I've ever encountered. They aren't greasy, though, and they aren't overly light and flaky. They're like the ideal marriage of biscuit and scone, with just enough heft to make a single one a filling meal. Not that I don't always want a second, of course.
You can order a biscuit either with sausage (like a breakfast sandwich) or with a little cup of crème fraîche and marmalade. As wonderful as the sausage is, I recommend the latter option. David Buehrer, one of Blacksmith's owners, took my side in a friendly argument with a fellow customer.
"There's really nothing like crème fraîche with a biscuit," he said, noting that while the crème fraîche comes from a European distributor, the marmalade and biscuits are both made in-house.
And he's right. The cool, creamy, slightly sour crème fraîche pairs wonderfully with the warm, buttery biscuit, and the raspberry marmalade adds a touch of sweet and sour to the mix. It's a decadent breakfast (or lunch), to be sure, but some days you just want to treat yourself. Blacksmith is a great place to do that.
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