Culture / Restaurants

An Oft-Debated Houston Restaurant Fights the Liquid Nitrogen Trend With a Killer New Dessert

Call It a Comeback

BY // 06.24.16

It’s a rare evening when a dessert excites me. Too many are overly sweet (still), or deconstructed “takes” on something or other that took a wrong turn somewhere between the mind of a cook and the guest’s palate. Chocolate soil and liquid nitrogen are dangerous things in the hands of some. (Most of the time, I prefer cheese as my final course.)

Well, a rare thing took place recently at Triniti: I tried a dessert that pushed all the right buttons, with aplomb. From the first bite, I was hooked. Pistachio cream, pistachio brittle, some fine acidity from a wonderful cherry gel, and a “crackine” powder. These components play together in a remarkable way.

Tasted individually, they all possess merit, but when a spoonful contains a touch of them all, well, that’s the source of the excitement. It’s really that good, and the pistachio sings. No mistaking this for an afterthought.

I like this dessert for another reason: It’s a pot de crème, and I have a thing for traditional desserts. This one dates back to 17th-century French, and it’s a classic. (The name refers, among other things, to the porcelain cups in which it is traditionally served.) Eggs, egg yolks, cream, milk, and the flavoring of your choice … what more is needed. I applaud Caroline Ramirez, Triniti’s pastry chef, for her wide-open mind and engaging approach.

This fine dish is on Triniti’s new summer menu, which includes a very good gazpacho and a gumbo whose roux, at least the day on which I tried it, was exemplary (more on this menu later). I’ve had issues with Triniti in the past involving flavors, service, and cost. It’s one of my favorite spaces in Houston when one speaks of aesthetics, however, and it seems this summer menu is, at least in my book, a good seasonal step.

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