A night in the North End: Desserts at Modern Pastry, North End, Boston [More Boston] [More Massachusetts]
I wrote my first review on Modern Pastry about the disillusioning experience of trying a cannoli. When I went back this time on my second jaunt to the North End, this time after having lived in Boston for a year, I was one crucial fact wiser: I knew not to order the cannoli. Of course, I was taking my friend from Chicago, so I insisted that she order it instead. Just to live out the North End dream.
One thing I realize about Modern Pastry that it is a place with wonderful atmosphere. In a North End packed with lines (ahem, Mike’s pastry anyone?), it’s the only place where you can actually sit and order and people aren’t standing around waiting to take your place. When it’s 8PM on a Saturday night and you need a sweet fix with a few friends, Modern Pastry is the perfect place. Of course, my old criticisms still stand: the dessert is definitely not French pastry-chef level material. But then again, a year of living in college and outside of my mother’s kitchen has dramatically lowered my standards, so I do concede: the desserts are pretty damn good.
My friends and I ordered the Napoleon, the Creme Brulee, a Lobster Tail, a Cannolli and a Dark Chocolate Turtle. Then, we realized that this wasn’t Thailand and when the desserts came out in their huge portions, we were a little taken aback (but not defeated). It was the lobster tail that was the shocker: a gigantic, head-sized flaky piece of pastry chock-full of ricotta cream, it was an amazing, beautiful thing to see and an even more beautiful thing to eat.
The night was filled with laughter: my friend from Chicago finally experienced the same cannoli disillusionment that we all go through on our first visit to Boston, and my dark chocolate turtle was so chocolatey and caramel-y that I nearly couldn’t finish it, but it was so good that of course I did. The lobster tail was tackled by 5 people and it was still a challenge, but it was the most delicious challenge I’ve encountered in a while. The creme brulee was too sweet and the napoleon was delicious but not spectacular. I realize that coming from a place where I had the kind of desserts my mother made, it’s impossible not to be disappointed. But I’ve shifted expectations, and I now eat food for the experience and not solely for the taste: and that’s what makes Modern Pastry worth going back to - the experience of the huge lobster tail, the friendly service, the seating atmosphere. But really, the lobster tail.