Roka Pop Rock

Written by Gwen Ashley Walters Category: Food Reviews Issue: March 2009
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“JUST DESTROY IT. IT LOOKS NICE, BUT IT’S MEANT TO BE DEVOURED,” says Executive Sous Chef Roman Petry of Roka Akor, referring to his eye- and mouth-popping dessert called Roka Pop Rock ($11). It’s tempting to just ogle the gorgeous dessert, but trust us, it’s much more gratifying to do as the chef says and attack with abandon. This sophisticated dessert is hard to describe. It doesn’t fit the usual categories. It’s not a cake.

It’s not a pudding or a pastry. No, it’s in a whole other league. A square, caramelized sugar cookie serves as the base for a box constructed of thin walls of gianduja (a chocolate-hazelnut confection). The tiny treasure trove holds juicy, fresh raspberries mixed with a bit of lime-infused pastry cream. The top is covered in a thin layer of toasted meringue, which is drizzled with a swirl of raspberry purée and a slight dusting of finely grated coconut. And then comes the entertaining part – the Pop Rocks. They erupt in the mouth on a somewhat delayed basis, gently yet defi nitively waking up the taste buds with a nuanced tingling. A pretty pottery crock off to the side holds a tart but creamy buttermilk lime sorbet – a sherbet more accurately. Not too sweet, the sorbet brings balance to the confection. It may be hard to describe, but it’s even harder to resist.

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