Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Go Bananas!

When you go to The Union Square Café in New York City, many people say not to skip dessert. The dessert person I am, it wasn’t difficult for me to save room!

My overall experience at The Union Square Café was great. The staff was cordial despite the stereotype that kids don’t tip, and also very knowledgeable about the menu. The restaurant itself was cozy and aesthetic. And the food was inspired and flavorful, starting with the bread basket. But the best part for me was definitely dessert.

The Union Square Café banana tart is highly recommended—and rightfully so. Although the chocolate brioche pudding also called to me, I had to try the restaurant’s signature dessert. The banana tart is a caramelized banana placed in a ring atop a macadamia nut brittle crust with honey-vanilla ice cream in the center and caramelized macadamia nuts on the side. The banana is served warm with a perfect crisp shell, like that of a crème brulée. The shell is thin, but robust with a burnt caramel flavor. The crust tastes as though it is made of shortbread cookies, soft enough to break with a fork, but hard enough not to completely crumble. It adds texture to the dessert and sweetness to the fruit. The honey-vanilla ice cream tastes much like plain vanilla. However, I didn’t mind because the rest of the dessert was so rich in flavor. Since the banana is warm, the ice cream melts over the tart, acting much like milk to cleanse the palette. Finally, the caramelized macadamia nuts are a nice finishing touch. They provide the major crunch factor. The macadamias are crisp inside a chewy caramel coating, which stick to your teeth long enough to linger as you chew the nut.

All of these components worked very well together. I did not favor one element over another, but savored them all. It was a true treat: intricate and unique, not too heavy, and a nice balance of soft and crunchy, cookie and fruit.

Just so you know, my friend got the chocolate brioche pudding. Of course I tasted it, but it was small and unimpressive, with the bread flavor more prominent than the chocolate flavor. My friend even asked me where the chocolate was! So the banana tart is definitely the way to go!

1 comment:

  1. Sounds delicious! I must give this place a try when I go to New York. What other food did you try on your visit?



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