Don't get too attached to anything you eat at Two Boroughs Larder, because next time you go there, it might not be on the menu. That's always been the case with the locally sourced, seasonally inspired lunch and dinner offerings, but now that goes for dessert as well, thanks to recently hired pastry assistant Katie Boyts, who's shaking up the restaurant's after-dinner offerings.
Before Boyts was hired, chef/owner Josh Keeler and his sous Kevin Getzewich kept things pretty simple, recognizing their strengths as cooks, not bakers. "We did things that we knew would work," Getzewich says, like the addictive chocolate budino with olive oil, sea salt, and pistachios (which you'll still almost always find on the menu, in some variation).
But, Getzewich says, "We wanted to step up the level of the desserts." Enter Ms. Boyts, a recent transplant who studied with Robert Reynolds at Chef Studio in Portland. Every Monday, the three chefs put their heads together to plan a week's worth of dishes based on what's local and in-season. For desserts, that means things like an apple tartelette with rosemary crème anglaise, or English chocolate pudding with braised cherries and crème fraiche, or brioche with peanut galaise and ganache with chocolate sorbet.
"It's been really exciting joining creative forces here, because I've felt really privileged to be amongst these brains, rethinking how you elevate that part of a dining experience," Boyts says. "That's what I love about dessert: it caps off an experience. Being able to do that with a group of people instead of just in your own head changes the experience. I love being able to take risks and push against the traditional dessert menu."
Like the rest of the offerings at the Larder, the desserts often incorporate unexpected ingredients. "Dessert doesn't always have to be heavy and fudgy and sweet," Getzewich says. "It can be savory. We're thinking outside the realm of sticky sweet." Boyts' family background in Mennonite foodways — she's even writing a book on the topic — informs her creations as well. One day you might get to try her take on the Mennonite classic Shoofly Pie. She makes it with lots of honey and bourbon, which she says "locates the dish, plants it somewhere interesting." You'll also see a lot more housemade bread on the menu, including English muffins, sourdough, burger buns, and Pullman loafs.
Larder fans might be a bit disappointed to find that a dish they fell in love with is no longer available, but they can bet that whatever Keeler and his crew are cooking up will be tasty. "It's fun to keep them on their toes. That's why people come back," Getzewich says. "They don't know what's going to be on the menu, but they know they're going to get good food."