Sugar Rush: Sapote Cheesecake (and More) at Les 400 Coups, Montreal

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[Photographs: Jay Friedman]

Walking through the door into Old Montreal's Les 400 Coups is a transition from charm to elegance. Both of those traits are evident in pastry chef Patrice Demers' desserts.

Demers is no stranger in Canada: he hosts a weekly television show called Les Desserts de Patrice and has published two pastry books. I'd heard many good things about his signature Chocolate 'Pot-de-Crème', but my server steered me instead to the Sapote Cheesecake ($10), citing its unusual form.

Far from a customary cheesecake, this creamy, custardy square was slightly nutty, earthy, and sweet. Pecans and oats offered crunchy contrast to the silken cheesecake, while caramel added sweetness. Best of all was the accompanying pear sorbet, made in a Pacojet and bursting with fruit flavor.

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Empathizing with my excruciating dessert decision, my server set me up with a sampler bowl of Litchi Granité, Creamy White Chocolate Yogurt, Grapefruit, Campari, and Flowers ($10 for a full portion). I'm not normally a fan of white chocolate, but this yogurt was rich and smooth with just the right amount of chocolate flavor. Its contrast in texture with the litchi granite was simply fascinating; add in the citric, bitter, and floral notes of the remaining ingredients, and this dessert was refreshing, flavorful, and unforgettable—much like my overall meal at Les 400 Coups.

Les 400 Coups

400 Rue Notre-Dame Est, Montreal, QC H2Y 1C8, Canada (map)
(514) 985-0400; les400coups.ca

About the author: Jay Friedman is a Seattle-based freelance food writer who happens to travel extensively as a sex educator. An avid fan of noodles (some call him "The Mein Man"), he sees sensuality in all foods, and blogs about it at his Gastrolust website. You can follow him on Twitter @jayfriedman.

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