Chef Pat McMahon sounds almost apologetic.
“I almost hate to say it, but we love crème brûlée around here,” he says. “And we sell a lot of it.”
That most ubiquitous of desserts, characterized by its rich, vanilla-spiked custard base and crunchy scorched-sugar top, is so thoroughly overdone, overplayed and overexposed.
Yet, we can’t get enough.
Even at Delaware’s more modern-leaning, higher-end establishments like McMahon’s Domaine Hudson, crème brûlée is a fixture.
“I think it’s the ultimate comfort food,” says head chef McMahon. “You’ve got the soft silky, velvety custard, then that dichotomous crunch up top. Plus, how many people have a blowtorch at their house?
Though Domaine Hudson dishes out more fanciful creations—including dark chocolate pot de crème, lemon-olive oil cake and homemade gelati—the crème brûlée, made with Tahitian vanilla bean and farm fresh eggs, is the fave. (1314 N. Washington St., Wilmington, 655-9463)
Downtown neighbors Deep Blue run a popular version of the custard, flanked by fresh local berries. (111 W. Eleventh St., Wilmington, 777-2040)
Leave it to fusion pioneers at Mikimotos to provide greater Wilmington with dessert sushi. Pastry chef Hannah Schuler coats flourless chocolate cake in shaved coconut and tops it with a citrus segment to mimic sashimi. Look for an all new dessert menu in the coming months. (1212 N. Washington St., Wilmington, 656-8638)
Old-school steak houses know that crème brûlée should mimic a nicely crusted beef filet. Try it at Walter’s Steakhouse (802 N. Union St., Wilmington, 652-6780), Sullivan’s Steakhouse (5525 Concord Pike, Wilmington, 479-7970), and at Harry’s Savoy Grill (2020 Naamans Road, Wilmington, 475-3000).