Mini Chocolate Lava Lamps and More Desserts at Binkley's Restaurant
Dayvid LeMmon A uniquely colorful dessert
If you have your ears (or, er, tongues) open in the Phoenix food scene, Binkley's Restaurant needs no introduction. Chef and owner Kevin Binkley has been nominated for the James Beard Foundation's Best Chef Southwest for several years in a row, and this year he was named as a finalist. To those who have indulged in his food, that's no surprise. And to those of you who haven't yet made it to Binkley's or the more casual (and cheaper) Café Bink, what are you waiting for?
With a menu that changes daily, the offerings are always a surprise. And yep, that includes the dessert. There may be no guarantees as to what you'll find, but no matter what, it is guaranteed to be pretty damn good. Chances are you'll also get more than you bargained for with small plates like amuse bouches and pre-desserts. As part of the three-course prix fixe menu offered during Arizona Restaurant Week, there were actually four sweets to taste: mini chocolate lava lamps, miniature cinnamon toast soufflé, red wine poached pear with white chocolate mousse, and a teeny tiny macaron to finish.
From the minute it was brought to the table, the mint chocolate lava lamp was a real treat -- first for the eyes, then for the taste buds. The minty syrup and chocolate pearls were served in a shot glass that rested on top of a flashing multicolor light. However delicious, it was not quite consumable as planned. The first taste was as intended, a shot of slightly sweet, minty liquid with triple chocolate and hazelnut pearls. After that, the extra chocolate had to be scooped out with a spoon, and with most of the syrup gone, it wasn't very minty. It was still super tasty -- just not as delicious as that first shot.
Next was the miniature cinnamon toast soufflé, which was tiny but full of flavor. The soufflé was baked in a petite ramekin, too small even to hold most condiments. The cute appearance matched up with the dish, which tasted remarkably like Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal. Only better, of course, combining the childhood favorite with the dreamy richness of soufflé and crème anglaise. Despite being about 1" in diameter, this portion equaled four small bites, enough to be satisfied yet still want more dessert. Just in time for...
Dayvid LeMmon A fancy flashback to freshman year of college, sitting on the couch eating cereal for dinner.