As grown-ups we can have dessert whenever we want. But sadly we do not act upon that freedom as much as we could or should. There are few places where sweet treats are as much of an event as at the Dessert Bar at Patisserie Chanson, which offers a six-course tasting menu with optional (and recommended) cocktail pairings.
In a kind of reverse striptease, the desserts are made in front of diners, from bare plates and bowls to finished products. The process plays out like a culinary Bob Ross painting, with seemingly finished foodscapes interrupted by the sudden, stark intrusion of, say, shards of yogurt meringue or a quenelle of barley ice cream—only to see the interloping ingredient incorporated with exquisite craft. Nutty, caramel-forward Solera cream sherry is the perfect grape jelly substitute for the PB&J’s peanut butter parfait, its quiet sting subbing for grapes’ acidity. The sharp tingle of finger limes in a sesame-chocolate dumpling is genius. And the Audrey Hepburn scarf of lemon peel clothespinned to a fir-tinctured French 75 (paired with olive oil gelato in a cauldron of liquid- nitrogen eucalyptus vapor) is adorable.
Do you know what’s better than a sugar rush? The sweetness of something slower, softer, subtler: the tantric tease of a sugar rouge, a two-hour gentle blushing of the palate.
Alas! We didn’t get all of our cocktails, lost in the small staff’s shuffle. (Prosecco, we never knew ye!) And the order of the courses all is wrong, front-loaded by showstoppers only to trickle to an ending with comparatively dull and dim-witted confections: A 40-layer mille-feuille of caramel Pink Lady apples tastes like a cube of applesauce, and digestif gummy bears—Drambuie, fernet, Amaro Lucano and port—would work better as a take-home gift along the lines of Daniel’s goodbye kiss of canelé.
Then there is the tragic ineptitude of having the finest experiences handled by the coarsest staff. This reviewer is too much of a gentleman to repeat what the bartender said to him by way of farewell, but it was searingly inappropriate. Props to his eavesdropping coworker who rushed over to apologize. Still, how quickly even the sweetest of nights can leave a sour taste in your mouth!