Tucked away in the Sparks industrial zone, Dee’s Bakery & Cafe can bake you a cake you’d be proud to present. And the restaurant serves up a decent selection of breakfast and lunch items. After a recent change of ownership, a variety of Brazilian dishes was added to the menu. I just had to check it out.
The room is cozy and the service friendly, just the place for a family outing. We started with several aperitivos, including coxinha de frango ($6 for 9)—shredded chicken croquettes—and kibe ($5 for 12), deep fried morsels of bulgur and ground beef. Both were served with rosé sauce. The seasoned chicken bites were smooth with an almost creamy interior that was nice against the lightly crunchy exterior. The beefy bits had a minty note that reminded me of Mediterranean dolma or Persian meat pies. Both deep-fried items were super tasty with or without the lightly tangy sauce.
An empada de frango ($4) was a savory little pie of baked pastry stuffed with seasoned, shredded chicken. Though the flavor was similar to the croquettes, the chicken was fairly dry and the crust a bit crumbly and reminiscent of shortbread. It was improved with a dose of rosé sauce. A basket of pao de queijo ($6 for 12)—little baked cheese rolls—stole the show. The exterior looked and smelled like the crispy butter rolls I make for Thanksgiving, but they had plenty of mild cheese baked in. I may have to rethink this year’s Thanksgiving plans.
Feijoada ($13)—a traditional Brazilian dish with roots in Portugal and ancient Rome—is only available on Saturdays due to the time required to prepare the slow-simmered, black bean and pork stew. It’s served with white rice, wilted collard greens and garlic, a vinegared mix of onion, tomato, bell pepper and cilantro, and a couple of slices of peeled orange. The dish also has farofa—a blend of roasted cassava flour with spices and crunchy, smoked bits of pork. It was hearty, earthy and satisfying, and the citrus was a nice palate cleanser.
Although other Brazilian plates beckoned, we opted for sandwiches, including hot meatloaf on sourdough ($10), featuring caramelized onion and tomato herb sauce; a grilled turkey Reuben on rye ($10) with thin-sliced turkey, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut and Russian dressing; and the day’s special, a Cubano sandwich ($8) of roast pork, ham, cheese and mustard between a pressed sandwich roll. All were grilled golden brown, and sides of fries, salad and soup were perfect. The housemade tomato herb soup was a standout. The meatloaf’s flavor reminded me a bit of breakfast sausage—in a good way—and the Reuben was surprisingly yummy. Quality poultry, kraut, and an above average sauce made for a great combination. The Cubano was OK, though the lack of pickles and an overall dryness left it a tad lacking by comparison.
When dining in a bakery/cafe, you can’t leave without sampling the desserts. Servings of pineapple cake, lemon cake and chocolate mousse pie ($4 each) were simply outstanding. Both of the cakes were moist and attractively decorated, and the fillings and frostings were flavorful without being overly sweet. Equally balanced was a slice of chocolate mousse pie and a fantastic chocolate eclair. The pie crust was reminiscent of European waffle cookies, and the cream-piped eclair was covered in decadent dark chocolate. Lindo maravilhoso!