Thursday, August 25, 2011

Früute: Tarts Unordinary - CLOSED (Online Only)

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West Hollywood, CA. With an inundation of mediocre trendy fares to fulfill the hunger for the tasty, cuisine with a simplistic, innovative, or artistic design often fail to impress. The increase in "coming soon!" signs boasting better eats sometimes just isn't enough to make the drive to a city worth the trip. Well, it seems we are at a turning point, with Früute and its new hand-held food concept intended to excite the senses. With its location in a newly established grocery plaza, one would beg the question: what is this place? is it even opening? Good news folks, it's operating in full swing and going on its 6 week (+) marker. And for this taste testing spot, we are the guinea pigs...but believe me, you won't mind...

Exterior Box
Simplicity. It is hard to find this modestly decorated storefront.  The interior has very little signage, with clean lines and neutral colors throughout. The packaging is no different, with boxes for sets of 4 or 8 made out of recycled paper. Despite this aesthetic, which mimics their contemporary website closely, your eyes focus on the array of colorful tarts perfectly lined in front of you. 

Innovative. The tarts take simple, to an extravagantly new mouthwatering level as bites of taste flood your mouth classically entertained in the style of say, an amuse-bouche. I spoke with a clerk who indicated that the shop, although off to a slow beginning, is starting to show regular and new customer faces. The geometric tart display validated this, given the minimal remaining popular items at 4:00p, a good four hours before closing. Each tart is moderately priced for a tart ($3) but with the experience about to unfold, I do tell you, it's worth it. To impress or to indulge, a tart such as this certainly makes for a unique and interesting gift to another or to your own salivating mouth.

Interior Box

Art. "Tarts Unordinary" or little creations of art, food sculptures, or whatever the spin is, it works. Each tart is hand-crafted in the dawn of the day, and for such items as their Black Pepper Tart, ice crystals are replaced periodically for absolute freshness of taste and design for its buyer. Each bite-size creation is a little over 1" square, and layering upwards to about 2" at its maximum. Each tart is uniquely colorful, vibrant, and decorated in such a way that makes you want to stare at length before indulging...even continue to stare as you continue to bite, to see if it holds up - it does. The balance of sweet and spicy, berries and fruit tones, with a light flavor is an art to its own: combining simple flavors in a clean way with classic tastes alluding to some personal favorites from home.

What's that mean? It yields a product that you want to go back to, something you just WISH was open a bit earlier in the day. If it sustains continued success by local patrons, maybe this will change, but for now, let's eat on to what we care about: TASTE.

The little shop breaks down tastes for the classic and the curious palates:
  • curious (4): matcha, mont blanc, wasabi, black pepper
  • classic (12): three berries, citron, passion fruit, yuzu, creme brulee, sea salt caramel, araguani, snowball, pecan, tiramisu, budino, baileys puff
Each item is credited back to their organic ingredients, from the flour to the fruit, making each unique composition full of light and fresh flavors - with some unexpected twists and turns, I must add.

Black Pepper Tart
Black Pepper - started off my 'curious' selection...a peppery bittersweet chocolate with a berry core layered on frangipane (or franchipane) over a chocolate crust and topped with blueberries divided by a decorative yet edible sugar crisp (also infused with black pepper). Immediate notes of spice  are followed by the subtleties of fruit to cool the mouth as you eat this tart. The more you eat, the spicier it gets, but I found myself finishing in about three bites, ending on a cooler note with remnants of warmth reverberating in my mouth.

Pecan Tart with Raspberry Cream Puff
Pecan - for my first 'classic' choice I went with what looked like a mini-pecan pie. Their version is a combination of pecan, sugar, and maple fudge in a simple vanilla crust and topped with a baby cream puff filled with a raspberry ganache. It tasted like a sample of the south with its sweet pecan sugar medley. I did find, however, the raspberry ganache puff to be a bit gratuitous in pairing, adding an element that felt a little out of place with the other more humble flavors.

Wasabi Tart
Wasabi - a Japanese horseradish-themed tart, was my final 'curious' selection...As I bit into this fiery little item I was confused as to what exactly I was eating, so of course I looked it up: "......a blood orange center...in a pistachio crust, garnished with a mint leaf tempura." The wasabi was a given in the exterior, the orange was more difficult to decipher - citrus can make for a sharp taste, so when paired with an even sharper flavor, you're in for a battle of the senses. The tart is layered on a vanilla frangipane that, when sitting in the pistachio crust added a buttery element that heightened the tart. From an aesthetic standpoint, the tempura'd mint leaf was a delicate touch that added the 'pretty'.

Sea Salt Caramel Tart
Sea Salt Caramel - another 'classic' selection, this was my personal favorite of the four....with its chopped Macadamia nuts in a sweet and salty 'caramel'. The chocolate crust paled to the filling, but the blackberry added just the right burst of sweet to go with this melt-in-your-mouth tart. Their information claims this item has dried berries in the mix, but they weren't as discernible as the ever obvious picture-perfect topper.

So do I recommend this specialty tart shop? Well if you can't tell by now I'll just say it: absolutely! Whether you're looking to splurge on a tart to delight your taste buds or simply stimulate your eyes, this place is worth a stop. Even if it's only out of curiosity - talk to their friendly staff during their business hours - it will be difficult to leave without a purchase! Playing host to many elements, including those that haven't been seen for some time, the moderate price seems like nothing compared to the quality and taste you're getting with your chosen tart - you'll understand their slogan a bit more and why they are suitably described as "tarts unordinary."

Tip: Before you leave, take a brochures if you expect to remember what exactly you're about to eat as you walk away, drive away, or explain to your friends!

Früute
8951 Santa Monica Blvd.
Suite A
West Hollywood, CA 90069

(310) 786-9983
www.fruute.com


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