Time to meet your Baker

Thanks to one Bouchon alum, Henderson can live by Bread & Butter alone

The influx of celebrity chefs that took place during “the aughts” has spawned a new generation of talent, and that talent is locally grown. The newest member of the tribe is Chris Herrin, a red-cheeked chef who baked croissants and sticky buns at Thomas Keller’s Bouchon.

Herrin is the proud proprietor of Bread & Butter, a small, brightly decorated breakfast and lunch spot in Henderson. The front case has lots of chewy bagels, pumpkin muffins and PB&J brioches. Behind it, in a postage-stamp-size kitchen, Herrin does some of the best salads and sandwiches in the Valley.

I visited on a Sunday when every seat was filled, mostly with folks from nearby Anthem. There is a long iron bench backed by cushions, and black-topped tables fronted by chairs. Ordering is sometimes done at the counter, but a server always brings your food to the table.

Come for breakfast and try some locally roasted coffee from Boulder City’s Colorado River Coffee Roasters, and one of these huge muffins. I especially like Herrin’s banana muffin with Nutella frosting. The coffee is great, and the chef is making some of the best bagels in the city.

For me, a bagel is all about crust. The plain, sesame and red velvet, for example, have a properly crusty surface and a firm crumb. I had a plain bagel with chive cheese, and felt instantly transported back East.

A signature item from the kitchen is a springy sourdough waffle, the same delicious waffle I remember from Bouchon, with strawberry jam, butter and real maple syrup. You can also give it the royal treatment in a brunch dish as a country ham and egg waffle sandwich, for which it’s cut in half, stuffed with aged white cheddar, ham and scrambled eggs, and swathed in Béchamel sauce. Have it and you’ll skip dinner.

The lunch menu is succinct, and mostly satisfying. Herrin is still fiddling around with soups. On one visit, a cream of potato soup had a watery texture and lacked body, but on another, a perfect butternut squash soup topped with raisins and pumpkin seeds hit all the marks.

I’m mad about the chopped kale salad with toasted almonds, peaches and English cucumbers with a seedy sunflower vinaigrette. The kale is finely minced, and every bite is shot through with taste. Andrew Weil is going to be jealous.

I wanted more turkey on my all-American turkey sandwich, served on delicious challah (brioche) bread with Swiss cheese, red tomatoes, an excellent basil mayo and red onion. And that went double for the pastrami on rye pretzel bread with sautéed cabbage, Swiss cheese and Thousand Island dressing.

When I mentioned this to Herrin, he said, “We don’t mean for that to be the case.” So I expect, upon return, to find the problem has been fixed.

There’s no beer or wine, but Herrin is having fun with a root-beer bar stocked with boutique choices from around the country. Kutztown, a dark, murky elixir I rather liked, made a European visitor run for cover. (My theory is that all Europeans hate root beer—it’s just too American.)

If you want dessert, try the Amano chocolate pudding, made from artisan Utah chocolate. It’s poetry in a plastic cup, topped with a thick layer of whipped cream. Herrin isn’t open for dinner, so I improvised and got one to go.

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