There are two kinds of people in this world: those who order dessert and those who don’t. If you find yourself in the latter group, it’s time to do a little soul-searching. While the main event of dinner is often the entree with an assist from appetizers, dessert is often the last thing one thinks about, which is a real shame. Dessert is a meal’s long-lingering goodbye kiss, or an exclamation point in an otherwise normal sentence. Around town, talented pastry chefs are often overshadowed by the media-ready executive chef, but that’s changing, as people become hip to creative and adventurous pastry programs. This month, we’re exploring the city’s best desserts, from homey cakes to artful meringues, in pursuit of something that will satisfy our perpetual sweet tooth. Come back every day in November for a new treat.
When Lettuce Entertain You took over operation of Booth One (the name a reference to the space’s glory days as The Pump Room), executive chef Doug Psaltis and pastry chef Andrea Cote discussed how to reference the Pump Room’s famed baked Alaska dessert in a way that was contemporary as well as nostalgic. At the suggestion of Hsing Chen, who is Psaltis’ wife, they created a layered interpretation of a lemon meringue pie, to be known (fair is fair, after all) as Mrs. Hsing’s Wonderful Lemon Napoleon ($10), a lovely bit of flaky pastry, lemon curd, candied lemon and (here’s where the baked Alaska homage happens) a torched, soft-meringue top. A dessert worthy of the iconic Pump Room itself. 1301 N. State Parkway, 312-649-0535; boothone.com