New York is in the midst of a bakery renaissance, from exotic exports representing Australia and Sweden to homegrown heroes making incredible babkas and breakfast empanadas. One East Williamsburg newcomer, though, might be among the city’s best.
Win Son Bakery is the brainchild of the duo behind Taiwanese-American sensation Win Son, chef Trigg Brown and partner Josh Ku. (Conveniently, the establishments are across the street from each other.) Originally conceived as an easy-breezy hideaway to wait for your table at the O.G. Win Son, word of mouth on their sophomore location’s greatness got out quickly. As a direct result, the once-sleepy corner of Montrose and Graham Avenues has officially become a foodie destination. What is it about Win Son Bakery’s sweets and snacks that have gastronomes lining up in droves? Glad you asked.
The breakfast treats will make you want to wake up early.
This past summer, Win Son Bakery’s Sunday-only breakfast pop-up regularly sold out of some of its signature pastries (lovingly made by baker Danielle Spencer) that grace the current morning menu, including the stretchy millet-based mochi doughnut and a pine nut cookie caramelized in brown sugar. Other popular items include a mammoth puffed-up laminated bao (a stuffed steamed bun) magically tasting like both a sugar cookie and a croissant; a beautifully brûléed custard toast that’s meant to be eaten with your hands; and a black sugar egg tart so delectable you no longer have to travel to the ends of Flushing to eat a good one.
The B.E.C. is way (like, way) better than the one at your local bodega.
As a dedicated sandwich snob, it’s hard to impress me with any old carb-y handful. But the sammies coming out of Win Son Bakery’s kitchens easily won me over. Its version of the cheap-eat standby bacon, egg, and cheese is a greased-up sensation that finds the perfect balance between curing hangovers and not weighing you down until dinnertime. Raclette melts into the gently scrambled eggs, and smoked bacon is presented as hearty little bits instead of the occasionally lackluster strips you get from your local bodega. We also urge you to upgrade your B.E.C. from its usual sandwich bread (a soft and fluffy milk bun made in-house) to a warm scallion pancake; it has the power to change the way you think about breakfast sandwiches forever. Yes—forever!
Your new crave-worthy, go-to snack is a squid—yes, squid—sandwich.
Also gracing the sandwich menu during the p.m. rush is one of my favorites in recent memory, a beautiful fried squid and lemon aioli number you’d swear was made in City Island if you closed your eyes. I eventually persuaded the duo next to me to order one for dinner, since they were hesitant about the concept of tentacles wiggling in between two buns—and they had nothing but raves one bite in.
The fried chicken is a worthy contender for best in the city.
Two of dinner’s biggest stars come from the appropriately titled Birds section. The Big Chicken “Box”—which isn’t a box but a sprawling buffet on a cafeteria tray—is a strong alternative to getting Popeyes yet again. Doused in a glistening imperial glaze or rubbed with five-spice and cayenne, the supercrispy trio (a leg, thigh, and wing) is what cheat-day dreams are made of.
Its winged cousin, the duck, also makes an appearance in the form of an elegant bowl (the ya fan) that flies above other bowls invading New York’s fast-casual scene. Sumptuous slow-cooked leg melts off the bone like hot butter. Mounds of mellow rice and daikon salad underneath soak up the bird’s aromatic juices and fatty bits, and the jammy soy egg on the side ties it all together. It’s rich enough to put you into a well-orchestrated food coma, one that will knock you out until breakfast service the next morning. We’ll make sure the kitchen saves you a mochi doughnut.