In Happy Endings, food critic Scott Reitz travels part of the globe that says "Dallas" in search of great desserts and great places to eat them. This is the fifth in an occasional series.
If you've ever been in one of those dining situations where nothing is going right, there's no need to drive the entire meal into the ground. Pass on dessert and head to a new destination. The move will reset your mood, and you'll have a whole city's worth of restaurants to choose from -- not to mention you can choose your dessert destination based solely on the performance of a pastry chef, ignoring the rest of the kitchen's skills.
And it's not that the kitchen skills at Spoon Bar and Kitchen should be ignored. There's a reason some are regarding John Tesar's work among the best in the country. It's just that the Preston Center seafood restaurant does such an over-the-top job with its desserts that you might want to think about giving the closing course your undistracted attention.
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The stark bowl pictured above is dubbed "The White Album," which it turns out is an apt name for the dessert for more reasons that its lack of rainbow sprinkles. For instance, the Beatles' White Album runs more than 93 minutes, which is about the duration of Spoon's elaborate dessert presentation.
After your order, a dessert amuse bouche may arrive, a small bowl of caramel that resembles ocean foam, complete with the occasional prick of salt. And then your dessert arrives, which is typically the end of the show, but here is the first of a series of encores involving a procession of cookies and other sweet things the size of the nail on your pinky finger. All this dessert before you're handed a muffin wrapped in tied, crinkling cellophane for the road -- dessert for tomorrow morning.
As for the White Album itself: Creamy, coconut-laced beads of tapioca conceal a layer of mango that pops out like a golden sunrise with the urge of a spoon. The frosty quenelle packs more coconut flavor, this time as a sorbet, and a subtle hint of pear hides in that crumbled merengue that looks like packed, powdery snow.
Pastry chef David Collier might be onto something with his interpretation of vintage albums as elegant desserts. Here's hoping he takes Sticky Fingers literally.