239 W. Broadway, nr. White St. 212-219-2777
In this rusticated, unglamorous dining era, the key to a truly grand dessert is to make it appear not very grand at all. Robert Truitt, the pastry chef at Drew Nieporent’s new restaurant, Corton, achieves this difficult trick with his inspired, justly hyped confection the caramel brioche. Truitt begins with a simple slab of house-baked brioche caramelized in honey and clarified butter, set down on a slick of coffee mousse. Then he adds the rest of the elements, one by one. They include scoops of brioche ice cream, banana purée, and passion fruit cream, the last of which sits in the center of the toast like a sweet, decorative version of toad in the hole. There are tiny slips of dissolving sweet-wine gelée, too, a nugget of tangy Stilton, and a chocolate nougatine, which sits at an angle on top of the dessert like a Sunday hat. The result is a delicate amalgam of comfort, ingenuity, and style that is pretty to look at, technically ingenious, and, most important of all, delicious to eat.
Corton's Menu, Illustrated