It threw me off to see $13 desserts on the menu at SPQR, which is basically a neighborhood Italian restaurant. Or it was back when Nate Appleman was in the kitchen. Clearly, my impressions were outdated. In the past three years, since Matthew Accarrino became executive chef, Shelley Lindgren’s restaurant has become more ambitious and progressive. Plating is now more advanced, sourcing is more intensive than ever, and yes, those $13 dessert price tags are justifiable thanks to options like the Blond Chocolate Panna Cotta.
For the blond chocolate panna cotta, which versatile Chef Accarrino created, he incorporates a new style of chocolate from Valrhona called Dulcey, which basically caramelizes white chocolate, adding depth of flavor and a toasted quality. Dulcey helped provide a silky base for airy coconut spuma, crisp caramelized coconut shavings, salted caramel and apple crumble, completing a delicious study in textural contrast that delivered savory flourishes.