Bravo! Cafe and Bakery all began when Tina Lin moved from New York to Minneapolis and decided to put her own spin on the classic cream puff. Since 2005, Bravo, a tiny four-table shop that bears the trappings of a neighborhood Chinese joint, cranks out cream puffs using pate a choux (a cooked, egg-based pastry). Each surprisingly light puff has a pretty, cracked exterior and a barely-there crunch. In contrast, the filling is a silky custard with the delicate flavor of whipped cream, plus a little more body.
The cream puffs are sold individually (for just $1.50), as are thick slices of the bakery’s various occasion cakes. They can also be ordered in rounds or sheets, and each one is slicked in a not-too-sweet whipped cream and garnished with flourishes of fresh fruit. There’s a flavor to suit any passerby, from kiwi to green tea to taro.
Beyond cream puffs and cake, Bravo provides for those unfortunate souls who make a habit of eating gooey sweets on a sad, empty stomach. For such ravenous folk, the bakery offers an extensive Asian-influenced vegetarian and vegan lunch menu, as well as espresso, blended coffee, bubble tea, and tropical smoothies to wash it all down.
1106 Grand Ave.
St. Paul, MN 55105
RESERVATIONS / RECOMMENDED: No / No
BAR: Coffee and tea
VEGETARIAN / VEGAN: Yes / Yes
PRICE RANGE: $1.50 for a cream puff, $2.50 to $3.99 for a slice of cake. Larger cakes run from $7.50 to $130 (a full sheet). $5.50-$6 for entrees.