And it's a brave restaurateur who puts pork on the menu when it's just a few doors down from Gilbert's cherished Joe's Real Barbecue. Rubin pulls it off, presenting roasted hoisin-glazed tenderloin, the moist meat subtly sweet and topped with soft carrot curls and romaine on salted herb focaccia. Wasabi-dusted sweet potato fries are genius, the crunchy orange shoestrings touched with just a hint of the sinus-searing horseradish.
Firestone wants guests to taste her vanilla bean crème brûlée -- it's an enthusiastic suggestion on every visit. For good reason. This creamy confection rivals the King of Crème, Vincent Guerithault, for the Valley's most perfect caramelized crust and velvet-thick interior. Firestone wins, though, for her lovely siding of homemade hazelnut brittle and fresh, lush strawberry slices. A round of flourless chocolate cake is marvelous as well.
By it's very name, Cafe ah Pwah suggests an unexpected, inventive dining experience. With such talent in the kitchen and in front of the house, it's nothing short of ingenious.