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Nov 12, 2007 05:48 PM

Spots that feature creative or cutting edge desserts

Apart from Clio, are there any other spots in the greater boston area that feature desserts that feature creative flavour combinations and/or cutting edge desserts ala El Bulli or WD-50 ?

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  1. Not really at mol. gas. levels, but T.W. Food has that scotch and cigars dessert that frankly sounds interesting to me, but is loathed by pretty much everyone who has tried it. :)

    Gargoyle's is always good for a little creativity - Their take on "Ants on a Log" for instance, which was iirc celery sorbet and a peanut butter fondant? with homemade raisin fruit rollup ants? Something like that - it was fun.

    That Boston Creme Pie cocktail at the Last Hurrah that Slim JB mentioned the other day sounded cutting edge a dull razor kind of way. Sort of like blue Ne-Hi soda - so awful, can't resist it.

    5 Replies
    1. re: Bob Dobalina

      I disliked that T.W. Food "scotch and cigars" dessert for the same reason I dislike Laphroaig and other Islay Island single malts: all I can taste is the peat smoke. I find it overwhelms the otherwise pleasant flavor of Scotch whisky.

      When you invoke Dufresne and Adria, I can only assume you mean molecular gastronomy. There's not a lot of it in town. Maffeo did some MG-inspired stuff at Restaurant L, but in his words, the only people that liked it were other chefs and food writers; he's gone to a much more mainstream concept in that space, now called Boston Public. That pretty much sums up why you don't see more of it here.

      Oringer dabbles with it at Clio, doing some emulsions and crystallizations and dishes (including cocktails) treated with liquid nitrogen; I've also seen him do some of that at the bar at KO Prime.

      Most of the desserts I like in town are more traditional, not too sexy on the plate. There are plenty of places -- notably Finale, a dessert-specialist restaurant chain -- where the desserts look wonderful but don't deliver at all on flavor.

      1. re: MC Slim JB

        yeah and they don't always even look great at finale either. if you stop and look at the display case closely, you can see how sloppily a lot of those desserts are put together.

        1. re: autopi

          I understand that most of Finale's desserts are made in a central factory location, frozen, and shipped to the stores, where they are thawed and embellished with a few finishing touches before serving. Bleh.

            1. re: joebelt

              Yes, Finale's desserts are underwhelming, overpriced and not cutting edge at all.

      2. Radius has always had cutting edge desserts although I have not been in a few years. I recently had some interesting desserts at both Troquet and Pigalle.

        1 Reply
        1. re: csammy

          Radius had an "almond danish" on Monday that ended up being essentially a layer of marzipan over a thin flaky crust with some very mild and light ginger ice cream - very good

        2. Once in a while Prezza will have some great desserts. I really thought their lavendar creme brulee was great. They also had a wonderful molten cake one time we were there.

          1. Nobody in Boston is doing anything even remotely similar to El Bulli, sweet or savory. A few chefs are experimenting with the recontextualization of matter - Pino Maffeo would certainly tell you he's leading the charge - but really, Boston wouldn't support a WD-50 (and you can make the argument that New York wouldn't, as well, since most nights you don't need a reservation.) Except when the economic outlook predicts gangbuster growth, this town wants big portions of unchallenging food.

            4 Replies
            1. re: almansa

              The lack of molecular gastronomy restaurants in Boston or even in NY is due to the fact that no one, in these two respective cities, has successfully gone passed this style of cooking's gimmick and delivered outstanding food like El Bulli or the Fat Duck have. The undiscerning pallet of Boston or NY's residents is imo not to blame. I think such a successful restaurant as the Fat Duck was in Boston, every other establishment in Bean City would be making snail porridge and bacon ice-cream.

              1. re: joebelt

                Also bear in mind for a restaurant to make successful cutting edge dishes, they would have to spend significant amount of time to develop them. El Bulli spends months every year developing and refining them while the restaurant is closed.
                No boston restaurant would even dream of doing that.

                1. re: nasilemak

                  El Bulli can allow themselves that luxury at this point but you can't say that their success is only due to being closed for "research" 6 months a year. They could very well rehash the same dish for longer periods. Adrian just choose not to do that.

                  1. re: joebelt

                    Folks, please keep the discussion here focused on finding great chow in Boston. If you'd like to discuss why molecular gastronomy has not thrived in Boston or NY, please start a new thread on the General Chowhounding Topics board, where many hounds will be glad to add their input.

                    Thanks for helping us keep this board on topic.