Scanning the dessert menu at Burch, one thing stands out — and not just because of the way the left-justified menu text seems to emphasize any words that seem to hang off to the right. Pear galette with foie gras ice cream. Foie gras? What business does offal have in dessert? In this case, apparently plenty.
Yeah, we ordered it for the novelty. It’s probably on the menu, at least in some small part, to appeal to the sort of business-dinner, on-trend crowd that values the luxury of “foie-on-foie-on-foie” and limited reserve bottles of Cabernet, as well as to those of us who have similar tastes, but smaller pocketbooks. It may also be on the menu — and we’re totally speculating, here — in response to ongoing foie gras protests at Burch’s sister restaurant 112 eatery, including one organized by the Animal Rights Coalition last June.
Implications aside, it worked — more than worked — to create a memorable bite. The foie lent a beautifully creamy texture to the small scoop of ice cream; the slightly funky, mild offal taste was accentuated by some nice chunks of salt that helped manage an already very balanced sweetness level. And as the ice cream melted, it only got better, flowing into all the crevices of the galette and creating a more unified bite.
But as individual components of a harmoniously balanced dessert go, the galette itself was the true star of the show. It deftly sidestepped all of the things that can go wrong with pears (mealy or flavorless) and pies (see our pie tastings to see why our love for pie took some missteps a few short years ago) and emerged warm and victorious. The pears burst with bright fruit flavor, caramelized on top and oozing a mysterious tart liquid that seemed to balance any excess sweetness. An effectively structured crust was somewhat flaky, quite buttery and flavorful, and had the right level of strength to hold the galette together, yet yield to the power of our forks.
This is one instance in which the dessert isn’t an otherwise forgettable endcap to your meal / begrudging addition to your bill. And, at $7, it’s an affordable luxury and point of intrigue — for expense accounts and happy hour diners alike.
Burch Restaurant, 1933 Colfax Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55403; Steak House: 612.843.1515, Pizza Bar 612.843.1500