Dessert Tasting at Patina: Spring Preview

— by Caroline on Crack

Strawberry/Ginger Sorbet

A strange thing happened to me. I was invited to a dessert tasting at Patina to sample renowned Pastry Chef Ian Gresik’s spring preview dessert menu. It’s strange because I’m not a professional food critic, just a blogger with an insatiable, albeit picky, sweet tooth. And yet here I was in fancy-pants Patina downtown in the shadow of the Disney Concert Hall being waited on and served desserts that looked like beautiful works of art. Sweet!

And apparently Ian and his desserts have a

following. It seemed like every review I read, whether on CitySearch or Chowhound, lavished praise on this maestro of sweets and said that his creations were the main reasons to dine at Patina.

My friend Mei-Mei and I were seated at a lovely booth along the wall facing the dining room. Great vantage point to survey the scene, which, at 7pm on a Tuesday night was just some tables of businessmen enjoying dinner. The wait staff was so nice and very attentive.

I squirmed in my seat a little, feeling very unfancy for this place. This sensation stayed with me through the dessert presentations. Each one was brought out looking too pretty to be torn apart and devoured. Fortunately I had my camera to forever preserve their beauty in my mind. And Mei-Mei, bless her, had no problem with getting things started by digging into the dishes.

So this spring preview menu consists of items that Ian may include in the final spring dessert menu which will debut this Friday the 29th. FYI, the winter menu that is available at the moment seems to concentrate on the rich and sweet like tiramisu with coffee cake mascarpone gelee and chocolate sorbet and caramel apple souffle with cinnamon crisp and Tahitian vanilla whipped cream. This spring menu preview, on the other hand, concentrated on a light and fruity taste.

Since this was a tasting menu, the portions were smaller than how they will be when ordered off the regular dessert menu. But it did make me wish I could see what the full-size desserts look like. Can the artistry be duplicated on a larger scale? Maybe so, but I wanna see!

Anyhoo, here’s the menu for your persual. Ian said that some items may be different on the finalized version. Prices: $8.50 lunch, $12 dinner.

Yogurt Parfait: housemade yogurt, sunflower seeds, mint, apricot. This was an odd-looking dish but not in an off-putting kind of way. It came out looking nothing like the yogurt parfait you get at breakfast joints but rather like a pile of bubbles.

The bubbles were actually apricot foam which provided just a hint of apricot in each spoonful of yogurt. I didn’t taste any mint but something that reminded me of flowers. This was a very light dish, great for someone who feels like they ate too much at dinner.

Strawberry: fresh strawberries, lemon creme, croquant and ginger-strawberry sherbet. What with the lemon and ginger-strawberry sherbet I figured I’d be puckering and cringing from the tartness. But that only happened with the strawberries, which tasted a bit like they were plucked too soon.

Otherwise the lemon creme and the sherbet were delightful. Love the artwork of dots. The waiter said that if we could tell him how many dots there were on the plate, we’d get a prize. Unfortunately we didn’t say “88” soon enough. In any case, this was Mei-Mei’s favorite dessert of the bunch.

Mojito Souffle: warm mojito souffle with lime ice cream. So innovative! Ian said that he was inspired to make this dessert from his time enjoying mojitos at Beachwood in Venice.

The warm souffle in the espresso cup was so light and airy, and it almost looked like foam from a cappuccino. The lime ice cream that accompanied it was refreshing. I’d have no problem ordering the full-size version of this. As Mei-Mei said, “I want another one. That was super good.” This may not have been as pretty as the other desserts, not that that’s a flaw, but it’s definitely one of my favorites.

Valrhona Chocolate: dark chocolate and olive oil mousse and cornetto. Now this was my favorite for obvious reasons. I loved the different textures of this dessert, from the crispy wafers to the smooth mousse.

That olive oil mousse was surprisingly good, providing a nice subtle complement to the rich chocolate flavors. And it did taste like olive oil but not in a gross way. It was a good thing we ended with this dessert though as it was very rich and would have overpowered the flavors of the other dishes.

So this new menu will be around for the next six to eight weeks depending on the availability of ingredients.

If you’re cheap like me, $12 for a dessert is pretty cringeworthy but if you feel like splurging, whether on a date after MOCA or the opera or during a fancy girls’ night out, you have to come here for at least cocktails and the desserts. Treat yourself.

141 S Grand Avenue
Los Angeles, California 90012 (map)
(213) 972-3331