Photos by Sarah Gerrity, Words by Melissa Groth
Get ready for French decadence at Le Diplomate. Their new pastry program is engineered by recently appointed pastry chef, Fabrice Bendano of Citronelle and Adour, and it’s amazing. Bendano has been the resident pastry chef at Le Diplomate since January of this year, during which time he has redeveloped the menu using authentic French technique. When I asked him how he’s enjoying working with Le Diplomate, Bendano praised the restaurant for their energy, and for giving him the “freedom to express myself with the menu.”
The desserts are definitely expressive. Beautiful in color, artistic in design and structure, with expertly crafted classic options as well. Le Diplomate’s advanced sommelier, Erik Siegelbaum, pairs the desserts with champagne and dessert wines, including stunning Canadian Vidal Ice Wine. His picks are delicious and interesting, sweet but with subtle flavor profiles ranging from pepper to raisin. Make sure you get the most of your delicious desserts by asking Erik to pair a dessert wine for you.
A warm Apple Tarte Tatin with vanilla ice cream, a light Creme Brulee and warm madeleine, and Baba Au Rhum cake with vanilla cream and dark rum poured over top table side make up the first section of the dessert program. The Creme Brulee is classic yet dreamily light and delicious; the sugary crust cracks open easily with the tap of a spoon. A row of banana profiteroles or a milk chocolate pot de creme are the second section of the program. The Profiteroles are served topped with a rectangle of chocolate, over which warm bittersweet chocolate is poured table side. With praline, chocolate, and vanilla ice cream, the Profiteroles are deliciously decadent. The filo dough-like pastry keeps its texture despite the warm chocolate to make for yummy little cream puff morsels. If you’re a mousse fan, the Pot de Creme is for you. Smooth milk chocolate topped with a dollop of vanilla creme and chocolate crisps is an indulgence that won’t leave you feeling weighed down.
The third section of the dessert program is a bit of a departure from the classic options of the previous sections with a focus on fruity, summery flavors. The vibrant Strawberry Charlotte is a burst of strawberry flavor for the perfect summer dessert. It’s topped with strawberry granita and strawberry puree, sits atop an almond crumble base which sandwiches a layer of creme fraiche. Expect to see this item on the menu in the near future. The Exotic Vacherin is the other option on the third section of the program, also fruity and summery with a focus on pineapple. The shape of the dessert is inspired by the shape of a pineapple and achieved using pineapple meringues. It’s topped with sorbet and whipped cream and garnished with lime zest and mango coulis.
Finally, the Tarte Fine Chocolate-Caramel speaks for itself on the plate. It’s too gorgeous to eat! The tarte is made of layers of chocolate and caramel, topped with hazelnuts and edible gold leaf. It’s plated with a flair of streusel and a dollop of hazelnut ice cream. This dessert demonstrates Chef Bendano’s creativity, expertise, and emphasis on intricate details. We’re glad he’s at Le Diplomate where he has the freedom to express his amazing skill and technique.