Wilmington Restaurant Review: Bryan Sikora’s La Fia Bakery + Bistro + Market
Bryan Sikora brings casual sophistication to Wilmington in the form of La Fia—a bistro, bakery and gourmet shop rolled into one.
(page 2 of 3)
Most important, the bake shop introduces Wilmo to the gougère, La Fia’s devastatingly addictive, light and cheesy French pastries, made from the same steam-poofed dough that gives us profiteroles. To bite into one is to inhale butter-and-cheese-scented air.
Gougères are perfection on their own. They’re even better stuffed. La Fia Market, which opens at 9 a.m. daily for breakfast, gives the city some of the finest uptown breakfast sandwiches it’s seen, perhaps ever. The Boulanger uses a gougère as a decadent pedestal for poached country eggs, buttery hollandaise and rich, salty country pâté. The Moon Shiner, flanked by a crusty, housemade English muffin, uses smoky, fat-marbled Surryano ham and cheese from Chester County’s Doe Run Farm. You’ll never look at a McMuffin the same way again.
La Fia’s lunch menu provides even more outlets for the bakery, while spinning cheeseburgers and Italian subs into très chic. A flaky-soft brioche bun housed juicy ground chuck and frizzled salumi, while a crusty seeded roll cradled pronounced provolone, salumi and sweet peppers.
The crossover spirit of La Fia gleamed strongest in La Fia Toast, an inspired collection of house-made goodies that highlighted the kitchen’s craftiness. It was impossible to choose a favorite among the trio of rich spreads—shredded duck confit, flaked wild salmon and chicken liver mousse—meant to smear across crusty bread. But I found myself skipping the bread and diving straight into the musky liver over and over again, the subtle pungency of brandy cutting through its fattiness. Crunchy, vinegary pickled summer veggies scattered across the plate, serving dutifully and deliciously as palate-fresheners.
Even without the safety net of amazing bread, lunch shined—particularly an amazingly fresh-tasting gazpacho, whose barely-there chunks of summer tomatoes got a swirl of sweetness from basil, zucchini and olive oil.
During its first few months, La Fia began rolling out dressed-down dinner services packed with the same sort of poppy freshness. Healthy handfuls of herbs added a bright punch to nearly every dish (and cocktail), and subtly turned up the dial on flavors. Take the sneaky sweetness of tarragon that enlivened a fig vinaigrette and an impossibly juicy salad of heirloom tomatoes and fried mozzarella. Or the gentle fennel fronds that joined with artichokes and green olives to spike a gorgeous hunk of oven-roasted grouper.