25: Tavern's Poached Pear Coupe
25: Tavern's Poached Pear Coupe.
Like pretty much anything else you find on the menu at any one of Suzanne Goin's restaurants, the desserts at Tavern are artful studies in composition. Goin is terrific at many things, but juxtaposing seasonal ingredients, using classical technique to access sudden bursts of flavor, is perhaps her particular genius. So after you feast on pork confit with mole or steak with onion panade, you might order one of the coupes, the beautiful layered glasses of ice cream that Goin likes to put on the menu at both Tavern and Lucques.
A coupe is a sundae and it is not. Unlike those childhood towers of excess, this dessert is at once more refined and more simplistic. Named after the French dish in which it was traditionally served, a coupe comprises ice cream and maybe fruit or nuts or sauces, but not to distraction. At Tavern, where the coupes are matched to the season (lately watermelon sorbet and mint; lemon ice cream, blueberries and shortbread), last week pastry chef Christina Olufsen came back from the nearby Wednesday Santa Monica farmers market loaded with Bartlett pears and pomegranates. (For those keeping track: pears from Ha's Apple Farm; pomegranates from Ha's, Flora Bella or Schaner Family Farms.)
Thus into a pint glass (great for coupes, by the way) go diced lightly poached Bartletts, pear sorbet made from more of the poached fruit, pomegranate sorbet, housemade whipped crème fraîche and fresh pomegranate seeds. (Imagine Persephone as pastry chef, happily ensconced in a Brentwood dessert kitchen.) The coupe is cold and subtle and not too sweet, a glorious riff on late fall flavors, the crunch and tart bite of the pomegranate seeds adding a lovely finish -- as well as looking like little garnet jewels. It's a terrific dessert, and also works pretty well, with a cup of espresso, as a late stand-alone breakfast. Eat dessert first? Why not.
Check out the rest of our 100 of our favorite dishes. Suggestion? Write us a comment.
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