Haunt-your-dreams dessert from Vegas sweet spots

Éclairs are all the rage, and chef Robyn Lucas of DB Brasserie is featuring a seasonal trio: peanut-butter caramel, lemon meringue and pumpkin. And they’re not just nice to look at—these babies are backed by hard-core method (try whipping cream nonstop for 25 minutes).
Photo: Mikayla Whitmore
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      “My husband grew up with his mom making him banana cream pie. So for the longest time it was, ‘Can you even come close to what my mom does?’ And I took that on, like, ‘Yeah, I can actually,’” Megan Romano says with a laugh. The chef came up in the kitchens of the Charlies (Trotter and Palmer), so she knows how to refine a classic. And demand is on the rise for familiar pleasures, from that banana pie kissed by honey caramel to bright lemon meringue spiked with zest to tiramisu wearing tiny amaretti cookies like a hat at a royal wedding. If you can’t decide on just one, don’t. $3.75 each, Chocolate & Spice.

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      The world is reduced to warming butter as Mio Ogasawara primes her crust, the delicate Japanese flour and golden California egg yolks making it more like a croissant puffing up right before it’s eaten, “so you get the aroma and the taste.” Topped with tart green-apple compote and a cloud of cream with just a murmur of sweetness, the deconstructed pie comes with honey ice cream and an apple that looks like an antique Christmas ornament. But crack open that sugar shell and cinnamon caramel spills from a perfect cream core onto your polished spoon. This is what happens when dessert winks. $12, Sweets Raku.

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      The éclair is a humble creature, just baked pâte à choux with cream and chocolate. It’s also “the new doughnut,” say culinary nerds. And in Robyn Lucas’ hands, the caterpillar-shaped sweet sprouts wings. Airy pastry touched with vanilla hugs peanut-butter caramel crémeux, or juicy lemon cream whipped with Plugrá butter, or roasted pumpkin swirled with brown sugar and cinnamon. On top? Bitter chocolate and fleur de sel, gold flakes and stars of torched meringue, and cream-cheese glaze with crisped pepitas. “You’re looking for that perfect bite, almost where it sings to you. Where you’re so happy and say, this is it. That sigh.” $9, DB Brasserie.

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      After squid-ink drunken noodles smacking of hot pepper and basil, the classic move is sweet sticky rice with mango. Because it’s delicious. But Gail Bumroongsawad encourages twists. Though the chef played with tea and exotic fruit flavors for her egg custard, they couldn’t beat Tahitian vanilla. Fresh beans and pure extract are the foundation of dazzling harmony. “The texture is very smooth, baked perfectly. It’s not too creamy with the cream and not too rich with the egg, and not to sweet.” Break the sugar dome into the silkiness and ripe berries, and playing with your food becomes so right. $9, Arawan Thai Bistro and Dessert.

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      Most chocolate mousse is like a hit pop song—appealing and fun and repetitive and forgettable. Kristen LoVullo isn’t interested in the expected, whether we’re talking about flavor or the artistry of a finished dish. This one gets its backbone from 64 percent dark chocolate, but the richness is cut by floral notes from an infusion of hibiscus tea. The silky mousse has veins of raspberry crémeux and plenty of chocolate extras, from a chewy brownie base to crunchy cocoa-nib embellishments to a glaze of chocolate glaçage. “It’s a rich but very balanced chocolate dessert,” LoVullo says. “The flavor profile is so interesting and develops after each bite. Pair it with a glass of our Port or Cabernet and have a next-level dessert experience!” $7, Gimme Some Sugar.


      Dessert first!

      Because there can never be enough glamour shots of gorgeous food, check out our gallery of outtakes. Did we eat all of this dessert? Of course. Was it delicious? YES.

    Tags: Dining, Featured, Food
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