Ghaya F. Oliveira is a miracle worker.
The inspired pastry chef of the brand-new Boulud Sud was tasked with creating a menu that exalts the cuisines of every country that touches the Mediterranean Sea. As the savory kitchen grapples with this unenviable assignment by alternating between haute reconsiderations and grandmotherly tributes, Oliveira has already nailed her vision.
Consider her grapefruit givré ($13): At its simplest, a givré is hollowed-out fruit filled with sorbet, a dish that could easily be a Continental cuisine catastrophe. Oliveira's version, though, is a phenomenon stuffed with grapefruit jam, rose-infused Turkish delight and halva crumbles and capped with a caramel-orange tuile. Break the tuile lid, scoop at will and your mouth is sent whirling.
Oliveira achieved similar feats in the two other desserts we tried. Sutlac ($11)--aka Turkish rice pudding--anchors a bulbous glass stacked with rhubarb sorbet, cubes of lemon-verbena gelée and ribbons of poached rhubarb. Stratospheres lighter than the Sicilian original, her mousse-y cassata ($13) stars molded ricotta along with cardamom foam, chocolate-covered bits of house-made amaretti and coffee gelato.
Should you ever be in the mood for smaller miracles, Oliveira's gelati are also available at the new Epicerie Boulud around the corner.
Boulud Sud, 20 W. 64th St. (at Broadway); 212-595-1313 or danielnyc.com/boulud_sud.html
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