Finale, with locations in Harvard Square, Back Bay and Coolidge Corner, is known for its elegantly plated desserts served in sleek dining rooms. It’s a place to go for dessert with a full restaurant experience, though they do offer savory food as well. Those who have had visited Finale’s plated desserts might be familiar with items like The Molten, a baked-to-order warm chocolate cake. A category of the menu that has recently been updated is devoted to Homestyle Favorites, the kind of desserts we’ve all been eating for years, but with an elegant touch. A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to sample some of these desserts.
Apple a La Mode consists of a Macintosh apple and cranberry tart served with Tahitian vanilla gelato, a lavender soaked hazelnut financier and honey caramel sauce. The tart was reminiscent of a crumble, with soft chunks of apple surrounded by a buttery sweet topping. The lavender financier offered a nice floral note against the more sweet and buttery apple tart. They honey caramel sauce was delightful and I would love to see it maybe more prominently in other desserts.
My favorite dessert was the Seasonal Cornucopia, consisting of a raspberry and blackberry cobbler with vanilla gelato, caramel nut bar with bittersweet chocolate ganache, and apricot cherry bread pudding with caramel sauce. I found it interesting that these three were grouped together into a single dessert, as each would stand alone just fine. The bread pudding was rich and custardy, dotted with chewy dried cherries and drizzled with a sweet caramel sauce. The cobbler was packed with large, juicy berries. The topping was intensely buttery and offered a nice contrast to the slightly tart berries. The nut bars were packed with huge chunks of cashews, almonds, hazelnuts and more, held together by a gooey caramel layer and drizzled with chocolate.
All of the dessert plates were generously portioned, especially the cornucopia. The general manager mentioned to me that they had made an effort to increase portion sizes recently while keeping prices the same, in essence offering more bang for your buck.
The Peanut Butter Mousse Pie features layers of peanut butter mousse, chocolate ganache and chocolate peanut sable dough with peanut butter cream, Valrhona chocolate gelato, and salted peanut brittle. The gelato and brittle were wonderful accompaniments, further bringing out the chocolate and peanut flavors of the dish
The Cookies & Cream comes with an assortment of warm cookies and bars with an Izze Blackberry float. It is a whimsical dessert and would be perfect sharing. With several large cookies as well as some smaller cookies and bars, there is certainly enough to feed a small group. The float was the highlight of the plate, adding a bit of fizzy fruity-ness. I hadn’t had an ice cream float since I was younger and it gave this dessert extra nostalgia points.
As I often crave more old-fashioned desserts like warm cookies or a juicy fruit cobbler over a fancy plated desserts, I was happy to learn of these offerings at Finale. One of the Homestyle Favorites I am curious to go back and try is the Pineapple Upside Down Cake with Tahitian vanilla gelato, a molasses crisp cookie and vanilla pineapple sauce. You can view the full dessert menu, including all of the Homestyle Favorites here.
Finale with two other locations
30 Dunster Street