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Pain in the . . . basket

Some of the loaves at Blue Duck Bakery

Some of the loaves at Blue Duck Bakery in Southampton. Photo Credit: Newsday / Erica Marcus

If bread is the staff of life, then why are so many restaurants trying to kill me?

This has been a very, very good year re: opening high-quality eateries in Nassau and Suffolk. But the bread bakers must be on strike. Or the owners have decided not to invest much into that basket that greets you, packaged and cold butter on the side.

One of the few exceptions so far is Southfork Kitchen, a fanatically sustainable spot in — where else? -- Bridgehampton. The terrific brioche and multigrain slices that arrive at attention in the box made with recycled wood comes from Blue Duck Bakery in Southampton. (There's also a Blue Duck in Southold.) The bread at the new Amicale in Huntington Station, freshly made, also gets your attention.

Tasting this bread in the same week that I confronted a reheated loaf with burnt flecks of onion on top and sandpaper texture just underscored two things: Some joints think bread is too expensive; and that customers are so carb-crazed, they don't want it, anyway.

At this rate it's going to be either BYO or welcome to a cover charge.

They both might improve what's in the basket. And my crusty mood.

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