The Best Thing I Ate This Week: Chartreuse Bistro's Apple Cake
Apples are a sweet kiss from autumn. These plump, crunchy, blissful handfuls get mashed into homemade sauce, baked with cinnamon into pies and are picked and devoured straight from tree branches with a cup of steaming apple cider in the other hand. With all of an apple’s uses, rarely do I consider apple cake, but luckily, for me, Chartreuse Bistro convinced me otherwise.
“It’s the definition of October,” our waitress said. The husband and I—well, mainly I—were craving a sweet treat and late night libations after a hilarious evening with Nick Swardson at Chrysler Hall for his “Taste It” tour. It was the coldest night we’d had of the season so I was ready to snuggle up with a glass of port and a little something toothsome to go with it.
Chartreuse Bistro opened just over a year ago, and this was our first time dining with them. They serve European cuisine made with organic and local ingredients. The quaint bistro was minimally decorated with the waitresses and workers chic in their nature. We felt like we were in a Portlandia scene, like a combination of one of those funky gift shop/bar scenes.
We’d crept in on the later side of the evening, so dessert seemed to fit the bill. A blood orange light lit up the intimate setting where surrounding couples were celebrating birthdays or anniversaries. We parked ourselves at the bar next to a quirky book about whiskey. Originally we eyed their chocolate ganache dessert, but thankfully it was sold out, so I could land on the lush loveliness that was my apple cake.
As a disclaimer, I can’t promise you that you’ll get a slice of this apple cake. Chartreuse’s menu changes daily, so you’ll most likely never get to eat the same thing twice.
A couple swigs into my port and him into his beer, and the apple cake was served. Underneath and overtop the cake was a boozy caramel syrup that was slightly salty, smoky. The chilled apple cake was light, refreshing, similar to that of the French Napoleon dessert, though a hint heavier. It had a toasty-looking top layer with chunks of apples pressed into the moist cake. Thinly sliced, sweet apples were adhered by a dense, house-made whipped cream on top, and my tastebuds couldn’t have been more jubilant. Returning for lunch or dinner won’t be up for debate, especially if I could have just one more bite of that cake.