Monday, November 10, 2008

Le Patissier: Hidden Treasure

Some restaurants get all of the publicity, their names splashed all over the media, as well as being widely discussed and praised by many diners. Other places, despite a few good reviews and excellent food, remain below the radar of the average diner. These places are hidden treasures, places you definitely should visit, if you knew that they existed.

The restaurant Troquet, which has been around for seven years, is one of those hidden treasures. Though it has excellent food and wine as well as great service, it still seems to not be as well known as it deserves. Other restaurants get far more publicity and attention while Troquet remains in the shadows, a favorite of those in the know, and a place I recommend.

It somehow seems fitting then that Troquet's relatively new dessertie, Le Patissier, also is a hidden treasure, seemingly concealed by the shadows. If you search, you won't find many reviews of Le Patissier though what you do find will be largely positive. But if you enjoy dessert, then this is a place you must visit.

Finale, a desserterie with multiple locations, gets the lion share of publicity but Le Patissier deserves at least as much attention. Pastry Chef Sarah Woodfine is creating delicious treats which should please any sweet tooth. She is a passionate chef who endeavors to concoct the best desserts that she can.

Over the weekend, I ate dinner in the South End and then decided to stop by Le Patissier for dessert. Though the bar was full, the dining area on the first floor was not too busy so we were immediately able to get a table. I could see that Chef Woodfine was working in the open kitchen area. The menu was largely similar to my last visit, with maybe a couple changes, though it is due for a more significant change in a couple weeks as they try to keep current with what is freshest for the season.

We decided to begin with the Dark Chocolate Souffle and the Pumpkin Beignets. The decadent souffle came with a coffee-flavored sauce and salted caramel ice cream. The souffle was cooked perfectly, with a nice crusty top and a rich custardy interior. The chocolate was quite rich, delicious and very satisfying. It is a dessert where you scrape the bowl to ensure you do not miss the slighest bit. And the ice cream was superb! Just the perfect balance of creaminess, salt and caramel flavors. I love salted caramel so the ice cream was pure bliss for me. Chef Woodfine makes the ice cream on premises and I wish it were available at my local grocery store.

The Pumpkin Beignets were like donut holes and were covered with what seemed to be a cinnamon/sugar mix. Some may be leery of these because they are made with pumpkin but put your fears away. As with the ice cream above, these beignets were very balanced, with just the right touch of pumpkin flavor mixing with the other spices. They were quite tasty and would have made an excellent dessert on Thanksgiving. These also came with an intriguing ice cream that matched the flavors of the beignets. Another hit dessert.

We finished with the Apple Crisp Souffle, which I have had there before and thoroughly loved. It was equally as good this time, showing consistency at this desserterie, a quality you want at any good restaurant.

What particularly struck me on this visit was that Chef Woodfine does an impressive job of creating balance in her desserts. The different flavors she brings together mesh well, and no single ingredient overpowers the others. They exist harmoniously and greatly please your palate. Certain ingredients, such as pumpkin and lemon, can be too overpowering in a dessert unless the chef is very careful. Chef Woodfine understands this principle and ensures her desserts do not disappoint.

I know I will return to Le Patissier soon, especially to check out their new dessert menu in a couple weeks. I also highly recommend that you check out this desserterie. It is a hidden treasure which I bet you will enjoy.

Le Patissier
140 Boylston Street
Boston, MA
Phone: 617-695-9463

1 comment:

bostontparties said...

pumpkin doughnuts! I have to try these. thanks for the tip!