Lemon Chocolate Tarte at (Where Else?) Coup des Tartes

Tired of discovering a restaurant's delectable desserts after stuffing ourselves full of appetizers and entrees, we're on a mission to find the places where diners should order dessert first. After all, chicken roulade and lamb vindaloo make excellent leftovers. But ice cream made in-house? Not a chance.

When you're looking for a classic dessert done right, what better place than a French restaurant? Enter Coup des Tartes, a French BYOB bistro tucked into a charming house in Central Phoenix. Given its reputation, we expected the desserts at Coup des Tartes to be spot on, doing that pastry-infused name justice.

The dessert menu is seasonal and recently changed for the new year. One of the current offers is a Lemon Chocolate Tarte, which we just had to try.

How did the tarte measure up to the hype? Find out after the jump...

At first bite, the lemon filling was a bit tart (no pun intended). But, after continuing to combine it with the rich chocolate crust, the flavor mellowed perfectly. The texture of the filling was also great: not at all gummy, mostly soft and custardy, and only a touch gelatinous.

The chocolate tarte shell was truly delicious and complemented the sharp lemon flavor in a way that an unflavored pastry would not. Far from a flaky pie crust, the chocolate tarte was very tender, crumbly, and surprisingly cake-like. The cocoa flavor was rich without overpowering the lemon filling.

Altogether, the flavors ended up being very balanced, especially once the pile of whipped cream was discovered hiding underneath the candied orange. However, that orange slice had no business being on the plate. Though edible, it was clearly only there for presentation. Pretty as it was, it would be nice to have had the chance to taste candied orange peel with the Chocolate Lemon Tarte, which would have given the dish a depth of flavor that it was missing. But hey, sometimes a simple classic doesn't need those extra fancy touches to be satisfying.

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