Not Just Desserts

Not Just Desserts

A more inventive sweet course at Heidi’s.

Fans of Heidi’s will recognize the sweet potato beignets. At the original restaurant, the barely sweet pastries were served with crème Anglaise and crispy sage.

At the new Heidi’s, they sit—deep fried but pillowy—on a plate of bourbon-rich rice pudding. The result is a deeper flavor, a more developed and refined dish. 

Like the dish, Heidi’s itself has moved on and gotten better, despite a fire last year that destroyed its first incarnation. The desserts cap a creative dining experience that would be a travesty to end with a molten chocolate cake straight out of the 1990s. 

If your meal starts with chef Stewart Woodman’s “Bennie”—truffle, huitlacoche (AKA corn smut), and a sous vide, hominy cream “egg” that collapses in a savory ooze when you raise your fork to it—it should end with something just as delicate and balanced. Like Heidi Woodman’s perfectly tart frozen soufflé made with the Japanese citrus yuzu. It’s refreshing not just on the palate, but also in a dining scene where dessert can feel like a compulsory second act; the chef trots out something chocolatey and something lemony. 

Woodman does make a frozen chocolate mousse with crumbles of peanut butter. But her caramelized pineapple Napoleon, served with basil ice cream and scented with allspice, goes head to head with chocolate sales. 

A yogurt cake flavored with rosewater and honey surprises and delights diners: “There was a table here Friday night who ordered one to share and then ordered another after,” Heidi Woodman says.

It’s the creation of a pastry chef who won’t let dessert play second fiddle. “I am the chef who is making the sweet course,” she says.