Restaurant of the Year 2011: Iridescence
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The fifth (dessert) course was one of Pastry Chef Patricia Nash’s creations — among the best anywhere: a moist, luscious pumpkin bread with cinnamon cream, enough by itself. But, surprise, it also comes with a vanilla ice cream “snicker doodle” sandwich. Enough to send you running to Grandma’s bosom.
I cannot say enough about both the flavor and artistry of Nash’s desserts. She’s nearly unmatched among pastry chefs in the metro Detroit restaurant scene. There’s a deftness to Nash’s work that’s marked by restraint in sweetness and a lightness where you might otherwise expect clunk.
Above: Pastry Chef Patricia Nash creating one of her delectable desserts.
In an earlier visit, Nash’s artistry showed in a dessert called the Peanut Butter Bar, a construction of shapes from rounds to rectangles with two columns of caramelized banana rounds stacked three high with a pool of brown caramel sauce on one side and a peanut-butter mousse. Rich, thick, gooey even, but not at all cloying.
One of the signatures, intentional or not, of Iridescence’s dishes appears in the combination-plate servings, which are reminiscent of Tribute and Yagihashi. They can be positively original. One such combo features two versions of foie gras. The first was referred to as a “Reuben,” a half-dollar size bun bearing a piece of pan-seared foie gras with micro greens, some white truffle, and a creamy sauce. The second, “Peanut Butter and Jelly,” had red-fruit preserve and a slice of foie gras “torchon” (pâté, essentially), sprinkled with granular, dehydrated peanut butter.
The hands-down favorite dish across all the visits was one that accompanied a piece of chicken. Served in a little cast-iron kettle, it’s called “lobster mac and cheese” with chunks of fresh lobster blended with a velvety creamed macaroni and a béchamel made with lobster stock, boursin cheese, and Parmesan. It was divine.
The wine list at Iridescence is also worth noting, mostly for reasonable pricing and a large assortment of many North American wines. On the way into the restaurant, check out the amazing wine cellar, a glass-fronted box that rises up into the tall room and uses a series of chain belts with slots for wine bottles, conveying them up and down 40 feet at the press of a button.