Dessert First

Simple Crème Brûlée at FEZ

While FEZ isn't exactly fine dining, the restaurant is a popular hangout that serves a noteworthy selection of cocktails along with some pretty tasty food. (Try the Key Lime Pie Martini, which just landed on our list of six favorite specialty cocktails.) We recently stopped by for dinner and decided to see if FEZ's dessert matches up to that sweet drink list.

For the record, the signature FEZ Salad -- with grilled chicken, field greens, toasted almonds, goat cheese, cinnamon pears, dried cherries, and pomegranate vinaigrette -- is a satisfying and reasonably healthy dinner. It's a little too sweet, but the vinegar and cheese work to counter it.

But, who cares about entrées? The real concern is whether or not the "homemade selection of desserts" is as "scintillating" as the menu promises.

Well, it turns out that the desserts at FEZ are perfectly mediocre. They're certainly not worthy of a visit on their own, but if your sweet tooth starts screaming for dessert while you're there, or if (like me) you have an insatiable dessert stomach, FEZ won't let you down either.

The Crème Brûlée was tasty, and it disappeared pretty quickly between the two of us. In fact, most people could (and would) easily finish one without any assistance. However, the execution was pretty rudimentary, and it had zero personality whatsoever. It's pretty much what the end result of Crème Brûlée 101 would taste like. And, FEZ might only get a B- because it was slightly too thin, a little like Jell-O pudding in texture.

The taste is best summed up with the word average. With something as simple as crème brûlée, the quality of ingredients makes a huge difference. It was obvious that this version used extract rather than real vanilla bean. While that's not going to make the final result bad, exactly, it isn't going to produce the very best possible version either. At least nothing bad can be said about the crispy torched top.

If you don't mind drinking your dessert, that's probably the way to go at FEZ. There are lots of sugary vodka cocktails to choose from, including the Mint Chipper, Grapesicle, and Banana Split. If you need something a little richer, other ordinary desserts to choose from include cheesecake, tiramisu, mousse, and a brownie - all priced at $7.95. (We hope that's a HUGE brownie. With ice cream.)

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Dominique Chatterjee