I have two words for all you sugar freaks: Campton Place. I was there a week or so ago as part of my mission to sample the wares of nearly every worthy pastry chef in town (and, alas, some not so worthy). To put it simply, it rocked.
I called ahead and made a reservation just for dessert and, though that doesn't ever happen (I know, I asked) they handled it with aplomb. They asked if it was a special occasion (I said it was not) and went so far as to inform the pastry chef that someone was coming in just to eat his sweet nothings.
Our plan was to just order a few things from the menu, maybe a dessert or even two more than we could reasonably eat. We'd top it off with coffee (for him) and wine (for me) and walk out, bellies full, into the night. We kicked things off with a dinner of scrambled eggs, bacon and champagne at home -- something simple but still decadent enough to merit a fancy dessert out.
We walked in and were greeted by name. Obviously ours was the only 9 o'clock reservation -- I'm no dope -- but still, it was classy.
Upon being seated we were told that Boris (as in Boris Portnoy, the pastry chef, formerly of Winterland and before that Cru in NYC) was very happy we were there and had prepared a special dessert tasting for that evening. I looked at Mr. Food Musings. He looked at me. We smiled.
The 6-course dessert tasting proceeded from there. (Yes, 6 courses, that is what I said.) From the palate cleanser (tomato sorbet with olive oil and a breadstick) to the finale (frozen chicory cake wrapped in milk skin with coffee mousse and coffee cookies) it was a show stopping, palate pleasing, eye popping extravaganza. Some items were on the menu, others were not. The mead in the rose mead sorbet, for instance, was brewed just for this dish. Never have I had such incredible dessert -- NEVER. Clever. Whimsical. Technical. Beautiful. Most of all, delicious, from the first bite to the last. The dessert equivalent of my first time (every time) at Manresa.
The service was extraordinary. I haven't been to CP in ages -- missed out on the Daniel Humm years, alas -- and I was very impressed. Everyone was on their A game, but also very friendly, even a bit colloquial, which is often missing from those joints. Chef Portnoy even came over at the end with the mignardise to say hello, which I thought was a lovely touch.
The wine pairings were also extraordinary. I'm not enough of a wine expert to know, but I suspect I had some pretty rare wines. They poured everything from a Moscato d'Asti to a Jurancon to a Riesling to a Trockenbeerenauslese (say that one three times fast!) to a Madeira. The Riesling pairing nearly made me cry -- never have I had such a perfect pairing in my life.
If you are in the mood for something special, make your own reservation for dessert. Though the tasting isn't offered on the menu, I'm sure he'd do it again, but he has to know you're coming. The prices were a steal: expect to pay $35 for dessert and $25 for the wine pairing.