Sweet of the Week: Coffee Cremeux at BOKA

I don't begrudge the desserts at BOKA the daunting task of living up to their savory predecessors courtesy (for the time being) of Giuseppe Tentori. The dexterous culinary mastermind weaves a distinct thread of innovation and imagination through his contemporary cooking, something that builds the progression of dinner up like a roller coaster steadily rising to its apex. Desserts are tasked with pushing the roller coaster over the brink and into sheer, grand finale-style bliss. BOKA's desserts accomplish that with their own distinct brand of crafty confections. For example, an invigorating plate of coffee cremeux, hazelnut financier, and orange-cardamom meringue.

Dessert at BOKA
(Dessert at BOKA)

Coffee, hazelnuts, and cardamom make for a harmonious, sensible combination, but they do so much more when synchronized and plated the way BOKA does. The plate arrives looking like a forest floor, with crumbly bits of coffee sprinkled across the bottom of the plate, a smattering of tender hazelnut financiers and orange-cardamom meringues, slivers of citrus, some vibrant edible flowers, and cloud-white foam. It's the kind of playful-yet-serious dessert that encourages diners to explore their way through it, trying different bite combinations and immersing themselves in textures, colors, and flavors. The coffee is dark and bracing, while the hazelnut financiers lend a sponge cake-like sweetness and the meringues an aromatic, saccharine undertone. It's a sublime finale to the roller coaster of a meal that preceded it, sending guests out on a bang without clobbering them over the head with sugar.