Dessert First

Otro Café's Postre de Coco

In a brief description of the only dessert on the menu at Doug Robson's newest venture, Otro Café, food critic Laura Hahnefeld said, "It's pretty much the best Mounds bar you've had in a glass." And -- despite living in Brooklyn these days -- I knew from those few words that I had to have a taste.

See also: - Oh, Oh, Otro Café! - 10 Things in New York City the Phoenix Food Scene Will Never Have

While her observation was spot-on, what Hahnefeld didn't say is that this coconut pudding is simpler yet more indulgent than the candy bar, without the super-sweetness of corn syrup or the regret-inducing heaviness of so much processed junk (what, pray tell, is the ingredient called PGPR?). So, yes, this dessert is like a Mounds bar, but infinitely better.

The texture of the pudding is very creamy, not heavy, similar to a classic crème brulee, or to an Asian gelatin dessert. The coco de postre is not very sweet at all, and the delicate flavors make it a refreshing way to cap off dinner, even if you aren't the type who always saves room for dessert. It's easy enough to polish off one of these puddings solo, but as a nice palate cleanser, the small serving could be split between three, maybe four, super-stuffed diners who are lingering over drinks.

Admittedly, the pudding would be rather flat on its own, although if you're the type to order plain vanilla ice cream, that might be just fine for you. Despite being the star of the dish, the coconut is rather subdued, more like the flavor of coconut oil than coconut water, so the good news is you don't have to be a big fan of the earthy nature of the fruit to enjoy this riff on it. But the layer of chocolate shavings on top takes this from basic to blissful by adding not only a deeper flavor but a pleasant texture as well. The richness of the dark chocolate contrasts the mellow sweetness of the pudding; in that sense, it really is just like a Mounds candy bar, just with the sugar content dialed down.

It's hard to find anything wrong with this dessert, and the service was equally stellar. While my friend and I waited for a table to be cleared outside, chef/owner Robson himself stopped on his way out the door to check that we had been helped. Our server continued to uphold that high level of service with honesty, enthusiasm, and great recommendations.

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Dominique Chatterjee