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Bread winner! Acclaimed baker opens spots in Sheepshead Bay and Downtown

Coming soon: French bistro Karver Brasserie will open its second location on Livingston Street Downtown on March 1.
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He won’t be kept at Bay!

A gigantic French bistro in Sheepshead Bay will expand next month, opening a second location in America’s Downtown on March 1. The new branch of Karver Brasserie will serve up fresh bread, sandwiches, and pastries, along with dishes tailored to whatever the neighborhood is hungry for, said the eatery’s new award-winning chef.

“It’s very good, a big challenge to make a new concept,” said Francois Payard, who lives in Manhattan and moved from France in 1990. “The menu would be a little heavier downtown, more lunch places for offices. We don’t know the business.”

The Sheepshead Bay restaurant, which opened its doors last August , shuttered in January for a month of renovations and reopened last week with Payard at the helm. There will be a few differences between the two farm-to-brasserie eateries — the Livingston Street outpost will be about half the size of the 4,800 square foot one on the Bay, but both will boast a cozy cafe space and Payard’s new menu, he said.

“We’re now making fresh bread, baking sandwiches inside to order, kind of changing the concept,” said Payard. “We closed for four weeks for renovation, have a brand new menu for lunch and dinner. There’s a cafe in the front, a little cafe like a bakery.”

Before joining Karver as its culinary director, Payard worked at highfalutin’ Manhattan spots including Daniel and Le Bernardin, and he received the James Beard award for “Outstanding Pastry Chef” in 1995. He has also won several other awards in the culinary world and whipped up the popular cookbook, “Payard Desserts.”

Among the brasserie’s top items will be the chicken paillard, said Payard, but he finds it hard to choose just one, since it offers such a robust menu, including escargots à la bourguignonne, stuffed branzino, croquet-monsieur, and salmon rillettes for those seeking a heavier lunch, along with lighter fare such as danishes, croissants, and fruit tarts.

“It’s difficult to say what’s my favorite,” said Payard. “Burger, salad, steak — I don’t know what you’re in the mood for.”

And patrons looking for a quick lunch dish can always order a sandwich made with bread from the restaurant’s own fresh bread-making machine, known as a “Bongard Paneotrade,” which turns out warm baked dough every 10 minutes, with flavors including traditional ciabatta, olive and sun-dried tomato, garlic rosemary, and squid ink.

Karver Brasserie (129 Livingston St. between Boerum Place and Smith Street Downtown, www.karver.com). Opens March 1.

Karver Brasserie (1809 Emmons Ave. between E. 19th Street and Sheepshead Bay Road in Sheepshead Bay, (718) 521–2777, www.karver.com).

Reach reporter Julianne Cuba at (718) 260–4577 or by e-mail at jcuba@cnglocal.com. Follow her on Twitter @julcuba.
Updated 5:48 pm, July 9, 2018
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