Top o' the morning to you! We'd set out to find you a tasty Irish soda bread for St. Patrick's Day, but all three we tried were excellent, in their own ways. Amy's Bread ($2.25 for a wedge, $10 for a round) was the densest, with a glossy top; almost sconelike, it wasn't too sweet and packed a real caraway punch. So did the daintier, pricier, muffin-sized loaf ($3.25) from Bouchon Bakery, with a finer crumb and a craggy, floury top.
Tom Cat Bakery's was most like a classic loaf of bread, with the lightest texture and most crackly crust—not nearly as dense as Amy's. Great plump raisins embedded in a slightly sweet bread, with just the faintest hit of caraway. Best to toast and butter—and at $5/loaf, you might even have enough leftovers to do so.
Amy's Bread: multiple locations (map); Bouchon Bakery, 10 Columbus Circle, New York NY 10019 (map); Tom Cat Bakery, available in multiple locations; here, Murray's Cheese Shop, 254 Bleecker Street, New York NY 10014 (map)