Persepshen's menu often changes. But this dessert is a Phoenix staple | Phoenix New Times
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Best Bites: On Persepshen's constantly changing menu, this dessert is a sweet staple

With an incredible chocolate cream pie, Persepshen proves they are masters of classic desserts.
Persepshen's chocolate cream pie is thankfully always on the menu.
Persepshen's chocolate cream pie is thankfully always on the menu. Shelby Moore
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Welcome to Best Bites, a series where we celebrate not a whole restaurant or menu but one specific and amazing dish. These bites have something to say, and we are listening. Keep reading for dishes that are seriously worth the trek across metro Phoenix to find. Dig in!

There’s a warmth that welcomes guests as they walk into Persepshen. Located off of Central and Highland avenues, the restaurant’s wood-hewn interior is set off by soft lights dangling through antlers above a communal table and a glow from the copper counter.

The feeling is only enhanced by the carefully crafted meal that follows, one that even loyal diners will find surprising week after week. 

Persepshen opened in October 2019 and was rewarded with rave reviews and accolades for its everything (truly everything) homemade menu of dishes comprised of local ingredients. The pandemic years that followed have undoubtedly been difficult, but the owners' commitment to their mission continues to push the restaurant forward.

“Food has always been our passion; it's what we do,” says co-owner and chef Jason Dwight. “We always wanted to share our passion with the community and give them good-tasting food made from the best ingredients. Our food system in America is so broken and it’s difficult for people to get locally grown and raised food. We wanted to help change that.”

Dwight co-owns the restaurant with his wife and business partner Katherine, an accomplished pastry chef. Together, they source only locally grown produce and local pasture-raised proteins, using what’s available to drive the seasonal and constantly rotating menu. The team at Persepshen breaks down whole animals for their dishes, so items are limited to what’s left of the current supply. When one steer, for example, is used up, the next one will come through and items will come back on the menu, albeit not necessarily in the exact same dish a diner may have tasted previously.

click to enlarge
At Persepshen on Central Avenue the community table is front and center.
Jackie Mercandetti Photo
But among a menu that constantly changes, a few things do stay the same. One of the select permanent items is a chocolate cream pie.

“As much as we love elevated food, we are still all American and enjoy some of the old classics," Dwight says. 

The pie’s ingredients are all organic but that’s not the only difference to a chocolate cream pie unlike any encountered previously. The pie doesn’t come as a slice, but rather as an individual mini tart.

The chocolate cookie crust is so thick there’s a worry of breaking through and ricocheting a piece off the plate. Once you manage to cut it open, the set chocolate custard stays mostly in place while a thick layer of salted caramel very slowly seeps out.

One mouthful of the whole combination – perhaps with a small scoop swiped from the mound of sweet cream – is joyous. It is rich but balanced. The dark chocolate custard is the ideal texture, creamy with enough body to stand on the spoon, and plays beautifully off the sweet yet salted caramel. The satisfying crunch of the crust brings the whole thing together; it is a perfect bite of dessert. But it is a struggle to only take one bite. 

With staffing struggles, the entire kitchen pitches in to craft this small sweet treat and all of the other desserts on the menu. The chocolate cream pie is delectable, no matter who worked on it that day.

“This dessert never gets old, it’s a family favorite,” Dwight says. “When we take it off the menu, people request it and want it, so we thought why not just keep it on?”

That may be one of Persepshen’s best ideas yet.

Persepshen

4700 N. Central Ave.
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