Thursday, March 19, 2009

Troquet, a birthday dinner, and dessert, to die for

This week was my birthday and my choice for a birthday dinner was Troquet. A small french bistro and Patisserie in the middle of the Emerson campus on Boylston street. I went with my husband and his parents. Now to preface this I have eaten there before, I once met a girlfriend for drinks and appetizers, and this was an experience I have carried with me ever since. First of all, they have a very extensive wine list and they offer 2 oz and 4 oz glasses of many of their wines. Also, their bar is one of the only in Boston to carry Ron Zacappa, a Guatemalan rum that I am particularly fond of. When you combine all of this alcoholy goodness with great tasting food you get a winning combination that I am going to want to try again.

The wait staff managed to impress me within the first couple of minutes. Instead of generic butter, Troquet waiters serve butter out of a giant wooden bucket with a odd curly knife. They place a curl of butter on each plate and then whisk in with their tasty warm rolls. I had finished my roll and had barely uttered a brief, "Oh, I'm out of bread" before another piece magically appeared on my plate accompanied by the smiling face of our waiter ready to take our appetizer order.

One thing to note about Troquet is that their menu isn't really what it seems, so ask questions. While the Short rib Cannelloni is described pretty efficiently on the menu the suckling pig, which seemed interesting but uncomplicated turned out to be a trio of creations all involving suckling pig. Something I never would have guessed from reading the menu description. The wait staff is knowledgeable and friendly so ask away about anything you're interested in.

I started off with the short rib cannelloni, one of the appetizers I had previously sampled, and it was delicious, a wonderful blend of slightly sweet tomatoy beef, combined with tender fresh pasta and a delightfully salty, and foamy Parmesan cream sauce. I recommend this dish to everyone who walks in the door.

Next I moved on to the lamb because I was fascinated by the concept of lamb bacon. While the lamb saddle was delicious, tender with none of the aftertaste that you sometimes get with lamb, the "bacon" was a bit strange, crispy on top with layer of fat in the middle and finishing off with some rather fatty lamb meat. The lamb topped a light tomato/broth that was swimming with white beans. While I thoroughly enjoyed this dish, the lamb bacon was more of an odd novelty than a culinary revelation.

Then we came to dessert. I had been warned by my friend Pam that this pastry chef was rumored to be particularly good. So I was extra excited about dessert. Because I simply love souffles and they are impossible to find I ordered the dark chocolate souffle with a grand Mainer dark chocolate sauce and Maderin orange ice cream. At my behest my husband ordered the flourless chocolate cake. An order of banana spring rolls also made it to the table.

The souffle was not exactly what I was expecting. When I hear dark chocolate I expect a chocolaty richness that was not present in this dessert. However, by eliminating the overpowering chocolate the souffle was allowed to shine. It was crispy on top while light and airy on the inside. The gran Mainer sauce was a great dark chocolate sauce with just a touch of the orange liquor, not too overpowering, which was a great compliment to the souffle. And the ice cream tasted like an less sweet creamsicle which had the entire table tasting it and going back for more.

The banana spring rolls were delightful,. They tasted like someone had wrapped a banana in thin doughnut dough and then deep fried it. They were accompanied by a carmel sauce served in an edible praline cup, delicious!

Despite this wonderful dessert bounty, the flourless chocolate cake was by far the winner of the evening. A small bar of chocolate elegantly presented and accompanied with raspberry sauce and pistachio ice cream. The cake appeared with a layer of ganache, not liquid but not quite solid either. This rich dark chocolate cake had the texture of slightly warm light fudge. It started to melt in your mouth as soon as it hit your tongue. This is by far the best flourless chocolate cake I have tasted in this city!

As we were leaving I was so excited by the cake that I felt the need to compliment the chef, something I rarely if ever do, she was very sweet and handed me a flier for their dessert only option. Downstairs at Troquet you can grab some of their pastry chef's delighful creations and enjoy a drink without having to eat dinner. And I promise I will be doing that sometime soon.

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