Recently, I received a gift-card that I could use either at Artisanal or Picholine. That’s a tough choice. Artisanal is really fun and a night of stinky cheeses on the house sounded really good. On the other hand, I had heard Picholine is a stuffy, old-school, Michelin 2-star restaurant and I aspire to be stuffy and old school. Plus, how often do I get the chance to visit these types of establishments? In the end, the deciding factor was that as good as Artisanal is, unless you love cheesecake, their desserts are decidedly “just ok”. I wanted to taste a Michelin rated dessert.
Before we talk desserts I just have to mention how superb the service and our savory dishes were. Definitely worthy of both the hype and the 2-stars.
Our pre-dessert was apple cider with crumble. We were told to pour the contents of the cone (the crumble) into our mouths and then wash it down with the apple cider. We did as directed. The crumble was like the powder from a fancy pixie stick, flavored with real apples instead of the artificial kind like in Apple Jacks. The Cider had all kinds of spices and did its job of telling the brain to shift gears into “sweet” mode.
Next up was the main feature, the liquid chocolate tart. The dessert consisted of a small open bowl made with a cookie-like hardness. Inside was a somewhat runny, liquid dark chocolate ganache. A super-thin disc of dark chocolate covered the bowl and sealed in the ganache. On top of the disc was a scoop of chocolate mousse, a drop of confiture de lait sorbet (like dulche de leche) and a pearl of meringue.
Every component of this dessert was perfect individually, especially the mousse and meringue. However, the one thing I didn’t like was that when you cracked the side of the tart all the ganache ran out all over the place making it hard to eat the rest of the components together. That said, the ganche wasn’t some cheap, bland syrup. It was rich, dark and flavorful. If I ordered this again I would only crack the top of the disc and not the side of the tart.
Everyone knows the best thing about these high-end places is how many “extra” desserts you get. At Picholine you get a plate of petit fours and a dish of chocolates. The macarons were decent but the chocolates were excellent. Much better than I expected with rich flavors like the ganache we had earlier. Our neighbors didn’t touch their chocolates or their macarons and let me tell you I was this close to swiping them off their plates. Seriously, who comes to a place like Picholine and leaves petit fours on the table? If you’re too full, just stick them in your pocket! Some people. Special shout-out to team Oswald for make this happen- Thanks!
Picholine is located at 35 West 64th Street. Their dessert menu is here.