No. 81, Fruit Tart at Le Croissant Dore
Hey, don't ding us for listicles: Weekly DataLab studies show ustedes love this gimmick, launched in honor of our coming Best Of issue. Besides, it is rather fun to do this for us Forkers--an opportunity to highlight dishes from restaurants we'll never fully review, or secrets from old standbys. Anyhoo, let the march begin...
There are two reasons why you must, must go to Le Croissant Dore: the bo kho, Vietnamese beef stew served with a crusty, hot French loaf to tear and dunk into the gravy like a donut to coffee; and the fruit tart, which is a legend in its own right.
There was a point in time when it seemed Le Croissant Dore didn't realize how popular their tarts were. They'd run out prematurely. I remember having to push my way through the sea of people crammed at their little doorway, only to find out that they sold the last one before I even got to the counter. And it wasn't yet noon.
Now they seem to have an endless supply, as if they possessed one of those bottomless magical bags Hermione Granger had in Harry Potter. You needn't call in for a reservation these days. They seem to anticipate that at any moment in time, someone is in need of one of these tarts. And trust me, you do.
Set on a crumbly crust, these fruit tarts are flaky, layered with a cool, eggy custard you could eat on its own if you had the chance, but is actually the base on which the fresh fruit are arranged. A final shellacking of shiny goo makes the strawberries, kiwis, pineapple, oranges, and grapes glisten like mirrors. And no matter what time of the year you decide to pick one up, the pastry will always look the same. No it's not seasonal, but it is dependable, and cheap to boot. At any other patisserie, expect to be gouged for more than what they charge here: a mere $24 for a tart that yields eight healthy servings.
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