Tuck Shop is literally tucked into the corner of 12th St. and Oak. With only a small neon sign on the side of the building to announce its name, it's easy to pass by this place without knowing what delicious food and comforting environment are waiting inside. The atmosphere is equally homey and fancy, the kind of place where diners can feel totally relaxed while also knowing that they're about to enjoy some of the best food in town. One of the best parts is the noticeable lack of people staring at iPhone screens; something about the place just makes you feel guilty for succumbing to gadget addiction instead of focusing on the company and food.
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The dessert menu regularly rotates, offering several options each day. The choices this week are a flourless chocolate torte, a butterscotch brownie accompanied by chocolate, and what was described as a kind of "upside-down apple pie."
Although it's hard to pass up a butterscotch brownie, we opted for the unique Upside-Down Apple Pie. The first flavor to hit the tongue is a surprising punch of molasses, followed by cinnamon, then apple. Altogether, it's richer than most apple pie fillings with deeper flavor. And, while the apples are baked similarly to an apple pie, the "crust" is actually a thick biscuit that's a bit dense and is tender but not at all flaky. The biscuit has a nice, simple taste, but there's too much of it in comparison to the amount of thinly sliced apples and the dollop of whipped cream. By the time we hit the last third of the plate, each bite was pretty dry because of the biscuit-to-apple ratio. That said, the biscuit was good enough to eat with a few drops of honey, but unfortunately, I don't keep honey packets stashed in my purse. (Note to self: That's not a bad idea.)
This dessert is the kind of thing that a savory chef comes up with. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but it means that it's not very sweet, which some people will probably appreciate. The dessert was a satisfying way to end the meal, but it didn't hold up against the amazing flavors of our perfectly cooked dinner entrees, Chicken & Waffles and Pork Loin. While Tuck Shop will always be a great place to relax and have some incredible food, it's not quite worthy of ordering dessert first. So have some starters and share some big plates of food, and if you have room left, then order dessert.
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