Rhode Island’s 6 Best Desserts
Thursday, January 13, 2011
Resoultions...smezolutions. Psychologists say January 17 is the most depressing day of the year. So beat those winter blues away with a week’s worth of the best desserts we’ve ever had.
Pot au Feu, Providence
Those of us who are crème brulee addicts understand that we all have our preferences when it comes to this popular French dessert. It’s on menus everywhere these days and in comes in countless flavors, but few restaurants get it right. The best by far can be found at Pot au Feu in Providence. Served in a large, shallow bowl, the Pot’s crème brulee is perfection—silky smooth on the inside, not too firm or too custardy, and full of vanilla beans. The burnt sugar on top is exactly as it should be—a super-thin layer that very easily succumbs to your spoon (owner Bob Burke likes to say the sugar is the consistency of “a layer of ice that has just former on a November puddle.”) Hey, if it’s good enough for Julia Child, it’s good enough for us! 44 Custom House St, Providence, 273-8953.
Siena, East Greenwich and Providence
This traditional Italian dessert was designed to provide a much-needed jolt of energy after a carb-heavy meal of pasta. Siena keeps to the classic recipe, layering Amaretto-flavored mascarpone cheese
Grand Marnier Soufflé
Restaurant Bouchard, Newport
The best chefs know that a good soufflé comes down to well-whipped egg whites. Over-whip and the soufflé will fall. But fold them in properly and this decadent French dessert will hold its heavenly, pillowy form for several minutes. Chef Bouchard does a number of excellent, delicious soufflés at this classic restaurant that he and his wife operate in the heart of Newport. The most delicious is the Grand
Sticky Toffee Pudding
DeWolf Tavern, Bristol
This traditional English dessert isn’t found on many local menus, but we have a feeling that even if it were, nothing would come close to the superb version that the kitchen at DeWolf Tavern in Bristol creates. A moist steamed sponge cake made with dates or prunes is covered in a warm toffee rum sauce and served with homemade vanilla ice cream. The cake itself is not too sweet and the rich fruit
Native Apple Crisp Tart
Al Forno, Providence
There’s a reason Food Network Chef Alex Guarnaschelli named the Native Apple Crisp Tart one of her favorite desserts on “The Best Thing I Ever Ate.” This dessert is as iconic as the restaurant itself, and for good reason. As with all of the food at Al Forno, it comes down to simple ingredients that are fresh and high quality: the best Golden Delicious apples, a little sugar, a little ginger, and a perfectly homemade pie crust made with fresh butter. Served alongside a little vanilla ice cream, this is a classic American dessert in top form. And they are made-to-order, so tell your server when you arrive that you’ll be needing one. 577 South Main St, Providence, 273-9760.
Gregg’s, multiple locations
There’s not a Rhode Islander around who hasn’t celebrated a birthday with this classic, moist, all-chocolate layer cake. Gregg’s strikes the perfect balance between the kid in us who wants an over-the-top sweet confection, and the adult who wants a rich chocolate flavor but can’t stand too much sugar (or that icky supermarket frosting). It’s no wonder Gregg’s sells tens of thousands of these a year. No top desserts list would be complete without it. 1303 North Main St, Providence, 831-5700; 1940 Pawtucket Ave, East Providence, 438-5700; 1359 Post Rd, Warwick, 467-5700; 4120 Quaker Ln, North Kingstown, 294-5700.
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