Everyday French cuisine

New café/bakery dazzles South Shore palette

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Since the Sunflower Bakery and Café opened on Montauk Highway in Bayport, in the old site of Le Soir, the Francophile eatery has generated much anticipation, and the community has given it their approval after tasting the inventive yet traditional French cuisine.

“Everyday French is what we aim for here,” said Stacé Hansen, co-owner of Sunflower along with daughter, Kathrine. “This is evocative of French café culture, which is enjoyed day and night.”

With afternoon and evening recipes, Stacé—who studied in France and has traveled to the motherland of her cuisine numerous times since then—infuses Sunflower with a fresh take on traditional courses while honoring the well-known flavor profiles.

This combination makes for a restaurant that is for the weekday girls’ brunch or an end-of-the-work-week dinner treat instead of just special-occasion meals.

“Sunflower is really for all occasions, for everyone in the family,” said Stacé.

The attire is “smart casual” and the ambiance of the dining room is in harmony with the dress code, featuring a light, airy space that makes use of the gorgeous South Shore light abundant in Bayport.

“We want people to feel welcomed, warm, and cozy,” said Stacé. “We love what we’re doing and we want our patrons to feel the same about.”

The restaurant will be expanding with some outdoor eating space to further deliver on the French café aura of Sunflower, and with twinkle-lights abound, the terrace dining will surely make for some memorable and special moments in the springtime for return patrons.

Roasting turkeys and baking whole hams, Sunflower’s lunch menu offers up sandwiches that are haute cuisine for what is usually a quicker meal in the middle of the day.

The dinner menu has French favorites like duck l’orange, filet mignon, halibut and oysters.

“Halibut is a unique menu choice and it’s such a great, hearty fish that lends itself well to sauces,” said Stacé.

Taking pride in using the freshest ingredients from locally based vendors, Stacé switches up specials to feature what she has found in her shopping.

Seasons also play a pivotal role in how the menu is crafted, with Stacé changing up regular dishes to reflect the time period of the year.

“In the spring when we serve our crab cake, we change the base to a fresh corn and basil salad,” said Stacé.

Every week features a different flavor of French-style ice cream (made like a custard), and Stacé has previously offered flavor varieties like chestnuts, lavender, and pistachio.

A family restaurant, Stacé’s son, Espen, is the resident baker and focuses his precise creativity with delectable desserts, including a popular carrot cake.

Previously, Stacé had owned a large catering business that specialized in French food, and the Sunflower menu is based off popular dishes from event planning.

“We went through the catering menu and made the decision on what would work well for a restaurant,” said Stacé. “Our final menu is straightforward with a good base. The fewer dishes, the more you can focus on making each dish well.”

Stacé said that “Bayport chose us” in the kismet listing of Le Soir when she and her family were looking to open a restaurant.

“The community has been so generous and appreciative,” Stacé said. “We’re a family business, front to back.”