The Crème de la Crème of Creme Brulee

Columns Ono, You Know

September 21, 2014

Story By: Alana Folen | Photos by: Anthony Consillio

Last week, I sneaked away on a little vacation with the family to San Francisco, and although I left my heart in the city by the bay, my battery is fully recharged. Truth be told, sunshine-filled days complemented by Mother Nature’s natural AC, gorging on everything under the sun, sightseeing, shopping, galavanting through Ghirardelli Square’s annual chocolate festival and a Giants win against the Dodgers (Let’s not talk about the Giants’ devastating loss the next day … forget that ever happened) will do that to you.

In good spirits, I got right back into the grind this week with the toughest, most brutal assignment ever: “Go eat creme brulee and write about it.” (By now, you should know I speak sarcasm pretty fluently.) So, I took my love for sugar to experience a classic dessert that requires finesse. The difference between a silky custard and a curdled one is no more than a few degrees. In an instant, you can spot creme brulee done right. Here at the following OYK spots, all it took was a firm tap with the back of the spoon, and the crust shattered beautifully, allowing easy access to the soft, velvety custard. The contrast heavenly; each spoonful of creme brulee was crisp and smooth, toasty and sweet. I couldn’t be happier. This is indeed the crème de la crème of life.

Kit n Kitchen

For the food-loving globetrotter, Kit n Kitchen offers a multitude of international flavors under one roof. A simple establishment, Kit n Kitchen is unpretentious, providing patrons with a casual dining experience without putting a dent in the pocketbook. The food, however, is up to par with that of premier, fine-dining establishments.

If you were to describe Kit n Kitchen’s Eurasian fare, the terms rustic, rich, peppery, aromatic and savory are some that come to mind. Sizzling Seafood Paella and Osso Bucco Milanese are prime examples of the restaurant’s invigorating use of flavors, but what the majority of people don’t take into account is the importance of dessert. Let’s face it, we’ve all been in that situation where we’ve stuffed ourselves silly with the main entree, and the idea of dessert sends us over the edge. In my humble opinion, that thought saddens me. My sweet tooth is as pure as they come, so there’s always room for dessert, particularly creme brulee.

Priced at $4.95, Kit n Kitchen’s Creme Brulee is a well-deserved splurge. During my most recent visit to the establishment, what arrived before me was a smooth, delicate custard placed in a shallow casserole dish, topped with a thin layer of burnt sugar. The custard, comprised of egg yolk, heavy whipping cream and sugar, was silky and effortless — the perfect contrast to the crust’s sweet crunch.

Creme Brulee broke my fast for the day, and it was glorious. Time stood still and I cherished every decadent bite. My gut instinct was to lick the dish clean, but then my reason reminded me about class.

Kit n Kitchen now is BYOB, so I recommend a nice Moscato or a Riesling to pair with this fancy dessert.

Kit n Kitchen
1010 University Ave.

Stage Restaurant

On the upper level of Honolulu Design Center is Stage Restaurant, a sophisticated establishment all around. Works of art are strategically placed throughout the spacious dining area, and the cuisine is best described as contemporary “Asian-American.”

Pastry chef Cainan Sabey recently switched up Stage’s dessert menu for the lunch crowd. When I heard Yuzu Lemon Mamaki-Infused Creme Brulee ($9) was one of Sabey’s new creations, believe me, I was all over it.

Lemon mamaki tea and yuzu juice seep into the custard — such a simple addition to an indulgent dessert, and the result is a burst of zest that’s very much approved.

“I wanted to try something new. The egg yolk to cream ratio is key. The creme brulee bakes for 35 to 40 minutes; the layer of burnt sugar creates a nice shell,” says Sabey.

The sugary shell Sabey speaks of features Tahitian vanilla beans. Such a brilliant concept!

Fresh fruits, such as mixed berries, complement the presentation of the dish and pair well with the creme brulee.

Yuzu Lemon Mamaki-Infused Creme Brulee is just one new item presented on the lunch menu. There are more sweet temptations to try at Stage. Why not have dessert first?

Stage Restaurant
Honolulu Design Center
1250 Kapiolani Blvd.

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