breadpuddingbstcafe.jpg
It's hard to take anything but a blurry picture of a booze-soaked dessert involving two different spirits.
Dinner at Boat Street Cafe can be dizzying.

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100 Favorite Dishes: Bread Pudding at Boat Street Cafe

breadpuddingbstcafe.jpg
It's hard to take anything but a blurry picture of a booze-soaked dessert involving two different spirits.
Dinner at Boat Street Cafe can be dizzying. The basement bistro doesn't have a view of anything, save the patio beyond its front door, so it's easy for eaters to lose their bearings. The room suggests France, and the startlingly fresh seafood evokes a coastal locale.

The trick to regaining balance is to cling to a fixed object. At Boat Street, that's the Columbia City bread (a previous honoree in our 100 Favorite Dishes series), a welcome participant in nearly every course. It's the foundation of an appetizer tartine, smeared with butter, spread with transparent coins of radish and flourished with Maldon sea salt. It's the accompaniment to every entree garnished with a sauce that shouldn't return to the dish room. And it's the star of the restaurant's signature bread pudding.

Boat Street soaks its bread in amaretto, so the dessert tastes foremost of golden raisins and alcohol. Unlike many bread puddings, which you might slip in your pocket if you were running short on time, this version is a glorious bog of stout, soggy bread and crème anglaise tweaked with rum. The pudding is both exceedingly rich and terrifically nuanced: It rings with the toasted almond flavor of amaretto and the spicy, floral flavor of vanilla. Hold on.

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