I have lived in Houston more years than not and have not ventured to Hotel ZaZa. Clearly an opportunity lost but I intended to spend time correcting past mistakes, starting with our belated Valentine’s Day stay-cation and a dessert worthy of the occasion.
Before we get too far I have a spot of bad news. You’re sad I’m only reviewing the dessert, because I am robbing you of the details of our amazing Chef’s Table experience at Monarch, Hotel ZaZa’s restaurant. Executive Chef Adam West has been in Houston a year and a half now, having moved from Dallas and his passionate pride in his work has not diminished. If you are interested in learning more about him, Eating Our Words from the Houston Press published a three-part interview when Adam first arrived. Take a look at Part One, Two, and Three of the interview and full meal review. Our scallops were equally divine! The Monarch’s full menu is also available online.
Fair warning, make sure you have run out of things to say or are fully engrossed in dessert when the clock strikes 10. The music hits club level as the restaurant transforms for the evening.
On with the drooling….
It’s been several days and I’m still thinking about this dessert. It arrived looking like a piece of abstract art, the crustless cheesecake in the shape of an inverted tea cup resting on a bed of toasted pistachios trailing across the plate, paired with a seemingly perfectly round pool of caramel to finish off the design trio.
I was initially disappointed that cheesecake was chosen as part of the experience. I was expecting the overly dense standard fare we’ve all tasted as dessert menu standbys. I got over it quickly. Like Goldilocks discovering the third bed to be just right, this cheesecake was neither too dense or too light. Structured creaminess mixes beautifully with the crunchy pistachio pieces and smooth caramel.
We sat quietly at the end of our pleasurable 3-hr experience slowly devouring each bite.
Sometimes it’s nice to have a taste bud party and think I could so recreate this at home. Sometimes it’s nice to be so impressed by a dessert you are counting down the days until you go back for your next sweet indulgence. I am counting down the days for my next bite of the Monarch’s White Chocolate Cheesecake.
Monarch – White Chocolate Cheesecake