Christopher's vs Vincent on Camelback: Tarte Tatin Tete a Tete

arte tatin is a fancy apple pie without the spices, but that doesn't begin to describe this wonderful dessert. Done right, it's made with caramelized apples and cooked upside down with the crust on top, then inverted for your tasting pleasure. This is one dessert that not many places offer, but we discovered it at two of our favorite French-inspired restaurants in town. And thus, this week's battle of the dishes--tarte tatin style--between Christopher's vs. Vincent on Camelback.

In one corner: Christopher's
2502 E Camelback Rd. Suite #102

The set up:
Hidden at the back of Biltmore Fashion Park -- literally next to the parking garage -- you'll find this impressive restaurant dishing up fare with an open kitchen you can sit next to, or a quiet table where you can still see the chefs cooking. Even the adjacent Crush Lounge followed the theme of sleek and modern with comfortable lounge chairs and couches to choose from. This is one place wanting you to feel at home in.

Christopher's tarte tatin was a simple take on the classic dessert. The puff pastry crust was very light and sweet, which complemented the taste of the freshly baked apples. The apples themselves were caramelized perfectly. Fresh berries were served alongside it and tasted excellently with the tarte tatin. Not to mention, the presentation was beautiful.

The vanilla ice cream served alongside was very icy and disappointing. There could have been more apple caramel sauce served with it; what was on the plate was very quickly eaten up within the first couple of bites.

In the other corner: Vincent on Camelback
3930 East Camelback Rd

The set up:
French country is the theme of this restaurant. With the brick walls mimicking an older building amongst the beamed ceilings covered in cloth, this is nothing short of ordinary. Even though this is an more traditional style, it doesn't lack in elegance. In fact, reservations are encouraged--even if you are only be stopping in for dessert.

The mixture of flavors with this tarte tatin was first-rate, starting with the vanilla ice cream: It was very creamy and could be eaten alone. Caramel sauce took over the plate, leaving every bite sweet and delicious. The caramelized apples were decoratively layered on top of the crust and had a lot of flavor.

Even though the sugar cookie crust fell apart in your mouth like shortbread, it didn't have the light crunchiness associated with puff pastry. There were a couple of pieces of apple with part of the core in the dish--a minor detail, but something you wouldn't want to bite into when everything else was so smooth.

The Verdict:
While Christopher's tatin was simple and very good, Vincent's packed a lot more flavor. After the first bite of this delectable tarte tatin, there wasn't any doubt that Vincent's walks away the winner of this battle.

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