Sugar Rush: Pretzel Beignets at Senate Pub, Cincinnati
Not to delve into the melodramatic here, but there's something torturous about living so far away from something as delicious as Senate Pub's Warm Pretzel Biegnets ($7.50). For a joint notorious for their hotdogs and hefty drinks menu, chef Dan Wright keeps the dessert menu rather simple, with these and a Chocolate and Bourbon Bread Pudding as the only two offerings. But this bag of steaming knobs of dough alone are plenty, and highly recommended for the end of any comfort-laden meal.
Unlike slightly more traditional beignets, Wright's have a hefty amount of density and chew. They pull apart delightfully when you tear them with your fingers or chomp a bite, then melt on your tongue in a buttery puddle. The pretzel aspect isn't glaring or particularly obvious at first, but it sneaks in via an undercurrent of slightly sour flavor and a bit of salt, which combats the thin coating of white sugar. On the side, a caramel marscarpone for dipping somehow manages not to be too sweet or rich.
Served piping hot in a paper bag, there's no heavy smear of shed oil. Sure, there's no doubt that these babies are fried, but whoever mans the frier has the temperature at the point where they don't absorb too much oil and become greasy. Rather, they're golden and slightly crunchy on the outside, giving way to a dough that practically steams as it separates. Let a bag satiate the group at your table, and report back on what you think.