Restaurant critic LESLIE BRENNER spins over the this blissful dessert.
Sometimes, at the tail end of a marvelous dinner, you want nothing more than to be face-to-face with a true classic: hence our love affair with the chocolate soufflé.
Where to go for a truly great one? Straight to the top — of Reunion Tower, that is. There, at Five Sixty by Wolfgang Puck, pastry chef Isla Vargas will send out — if you’ve been a good boy or girl and finished your Chinese lacquered duck — her stunningly good bittersweet chocolate soufflé. It’s a magnificent sight, the generous soufflé in its outsized ramekin, puffed up and standing tall on its way to the table. The waiter solemnly performs the tableside ritual: pouring in bittersweet chocolate sauce, gently dropping in a quenelle of gianduja gelato and adding a final flourish of crème fraîche whipped cream. Many a soufflé would collapse under such embellishments, but not Vargas’.
Voilà: It is served. Send in your spoon.
The adornments are wonderful on their own — the velvety gelato, a purist’s chocolate sauce — yet how well they play with the soufflé, which is a triumph of flavor and texture. It’s so big, the landscape bears exploring. Dip into the pillowy middle, soft and deep and rich, intensely chocolate. Now taste the wonderful upper edge, which has miraculously maintained its integrity — a little crusty, yet yielding; light and airy. This is deep chocolate bliss.
LESLIE BRENNER is the restaurant critic and dining editor for The Dallas Morning News and the author of five books about food and wine, including The Fourth Star: Dispatches From Inside Daniel Boulud’s Celebrated New York Restaurant. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org, twitter.com/lesbren or facebook.com/leslie.brenner.