Bakery Gets the Basics Right
Eatery Excels in Simple Fare
Published: Thursday, October 13, 2011
Updated: Thursday, October 13, 2011 22:10
For food establishments in Washington, D.C., there's a trend of elevation. Food stands have been elevated to food trucks, and at places such as Georgetown Cupcake and Baked & Wired, cupcakes are now considered delicacies. In line with this trend, Firehook Bakery boasts its simple, standard, yet delicious and reasonably priced fares that take a tried and true bakery formula and raise it to a whole new level.
Firehook hearkens back to an earlier age not only in its cuisine but also in its ambiance and etymology. In ancient Egypt the bakers were known as "firehooks," named after the tools they used to bake.
The bakery franchise itself dates back to 1992. The first store emerged on Lee Street, and since then it has expanded into the major squares such as Dupont and Farragut and even as far as Alexandria.
Walking into Firehook was truly amazing. Coming from bustling Dupont, I felt as if I had stepped into a completely new world. The inoffensive yellow and red walls were as soothing on the eyes as the barely audible classical music was to the ears. The cool temperature felt just right, and the bakery aesthetics created a uniquely calming experience. One word comes to mind when I think about Firehook: quaint. The only complaint I have about all things non-food in Firehook was the staff. They were marginally helpful and demonstrated little knowledge of the menu or food availability.
Unlike most restaurants, all the foods at Firehook are simple. You could make almost all of them in a home kitchen, but what separates Firehook from the rest is how it elevates the mundane to the extraordinary. Despite the fact that all the foods at Firehook are rather basic, they offer a bevy of choices. In addition to smoothies, the bakery offers the standard range of coffee for those looking for a quick caffeine fix. When I visited, I was very disappointed because they were out of bananas, which effectively eliminated two out of the six smoothie choices. I found the "Firehook Freeze" delicious — my only complaint was that it was a bit on the thick side.
The brownie I tried was also quite delightful. The chocolate was in perfect proportion, neither overwhelming nor difficult to detect. Furthermore, each bite was extremely satisfying due to the perfect softness in the brownie; it had just enough firmness to stay together in my hand without crumbling. The cookie was a little less scrumptious but nonetheless satisfying. Since I went at 4:30 p.m., the cookie had hardened some over the course of the day. The cookie, while generously sized, was rather tough around the edges, which was disappointing considering the soft center.
Bread, the staple of many civilizations, rarely receives the credit it deserves, so it is worth noting that the highlight of my visit was definitely the seven grain bread. This bread, in short, was a work of art. The texture was amazing, and I only wished my piece had been larger.
With cookies each under $2 and shakes below $4, Firehook is reasonably priced. The ambiance is unparalleled, and I could easily see myself studying there for hours in the relaxing environment. The slight drawbacks of the food seeming a bit stale and the lack of bananas can easily be rectified by going earlier in the day. With delicious food and great prices, Firehook is a no-brainer for breakfast or a mid-afternoon snack.