Restaurant review: Sassafrass Bakery offers many reasons to believe the hype

  • Photo by Meghan Ralston
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From the August 29, 2013 edition

“You don’t wanna miss out on the special cookies! Oh, and look at that ratatouille tart that just came out, it’s beautiful — plus it’s seasonal. And the scones! We’ve been munching on them all morning; they’re great … not dry or crumbly like you usually get. [A bit of diffident giggling erupts.] Really, I’m not trying to upsell you, I just really believe in this food!”

Every word I just typed — which came from the recommendations of a super-nice counter-server in the wonderful new brick-and-mortar Sassafras Bakery — proved to be true. That’s why I’m also gonna say: Hey Sassafras, I believe in you too!

Open for a few weeks in ridiculously cute Olde Downtown Worthington (near where it’s been operating a go-to stall at the farmers market for years), Sassafras is a 16-seat shop with canary-yellow painted walls — some of which are decorated with vintage pie pans.

Add in a rustic wooden-beamed ceiling, terrariums, illusionary windowpane-framed mirrors and bottomless $2 mugs of Brioso coffee (enrichable with Snowville Creamery dairy products, which Sassafras uses exclusively) — and you’ve got a quaint and comfortable setting for outstanding treats and terrific light meals.

Like, for instance, killer quiches ($4/nice-sized slice). Cupped in crispy, flaky and altogether dreamy pastry crusts were addictively creamy egg-based combinations such as a chunky and Greekish roasted tomato, mushroom and feta number enlivened by a kicky sprinkling of mint. Another inspired triumph kinda reminded me of a pie colliding with an omelet: cooked apples, blue cheese, caramelized onions plus a pinch of thyme. It might sound sorta “out there,” but it tastes sorta “in me again tomorrow!”

Ditto for a big and savory bacon and jalapeno scone ($3). Studded with corn and fragrant with black pepper, this flaky and hefty (if far from leaden) quick bread ate exactly how my duly impressed server reported.

I’d call my wedge of cherry pie a not-so-little slice of heaven ($4.50). My only problem: It was difficult to judge whether I preferred its stout, superior crust or its lively, sweet-tart filling. Similarly, did I love the great, cake-like chocolate zucchini muffin ($3) more than the wonderful, soft-yet-chewy lemon-rosemary and/or Chai cookies ($2)?

Looks like I’ll need a lot more evidence.