Crusty Tasty Bakery tops in European-style pastries

When we received an e-mail from a reader describing Crusty Tasty Bakery using words like “fantastic,” “awesome” and “soooo good,” we figured we better try it out.

Open for a bit more than a year in the International Market Place Plaza on SE Everett Mall Way, the small European-style bakery offers up an array of delicate pastries, as well as sandwiches, hot lunches and pizza.

The shop is owned by two hard-working Hungarian men, and customers get personal attention with a smile.

There’s barely room for three tables, so most of the business is to-go. Still, the few times I visited, people were tucked in to the tables, including one couple who clearly were regulars. Two Everett Police detectives ate at another table, an omen that the food would be filling and good; many cops know good chow.

The baked goods at Crusty Tasty win the day. Pastries range in price but are about $1.50 to $2 each.

Let me whet your appetite: A sweet walnut loaf was rich with a filling of a buttery walnut paste. Giant spheres of pressed butter dough were resplendent with jam and dusted with just enough powdered sugar to make a mess. And what a delicious mess.

Chocolate-coated linzer cookies were heavy and light at the same time. Dense with butter, they flaked apart and melted in my mouth.

A chocolate cream puff was filled with a rich chocolate pastry cream that reminded me of the best European bakeries.

Fresh-made breads, including rye, pumpernickel, white, wheat and a gorgeous braided challah, come out of the oven daily.

They use the bread to put together the nearly two dozen kinds of sandwiches offered from $2.50 for a grilled cheese to a $7.29 for smoked salmon.

My co-workers and I ordered a bunch of sandwiches recently and we got mixed results.

The grilled cheese combo with ham ($6.59) was “cooked to the perfect point of not being soggy or burnt.” The salmon was “delicious.”

But the grilled stuffed pork loin ($6.89) was a bit greasy and the meat was dry. The Kaiser German Style ham ($6.89) was salty and too fatty. The sides, a combo of potato and pasta salads, were nothing special. A cup of homemade cream of broccoli soup ($2.59) was excellent, but they forgot to add a piece of bread to the to-go bag.

Those of us who got sandwiches all agreed the bread was top notch. In fact, I finished my sandwich’s bread and threw away some of the meat.

I went back another day to try Crusty Tasty’s pizzas ($4.99 for an 8-inch, $9.99 for 12-inch). While I found it fresh and homemade with a nice, tangy sauce, I wasn’t crazy about the cheese topping.

The bakery also offers a homemade hot entree special ($7.29). The menu changes daily, so call ahead, but it mostly includes Hungarian dishes including goulash, layered potatoes, schnitzel and beef pepper pot.

It seems to me that Crusty Tasty has the bakery side of the business down really, really well. They need to work out some kinks with their sandwich offering, but that should come with time and feedback.

Be sure to know what you’re ordering and speak up if you don’t want the sandwich toasted, or laden with mayonnaise or cheese.

Whatever you do, be sure to order a pastry.

Jackson Holtz: 425-339-3447;

Crusty Tasty Bakery

607 SE Everett Mall Way, Everett;; 425-322-4759

Specialty: European pastries, bread

Hours: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays through Fridays; 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays

Price: Inexpensive

Delivery within city limits.

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