Most people who really know food understand that holidays (especially ones like Valentine's Day) are not always the best time to go out to eat. It seems, though, that this won't be such a problem this year - Valentine's is a Saturday, and the following Monday is a holiday, meaning that the entire weekend is open for Valentine's-themed meals.
Finale has taken this into account, and is offering a special menu for the entire weekend, all focused around their Retro Chocolate Tasting Plate. They got in touch with me to come try it out, and who am I to say no?
I've had Finale's savory food before and enjoyed it, and I've had their sweets (although as take-out, not plated in the restaurant). The idea of a restaurant that focuses on dessert makes me think of absolute decadence, and the Retro Tasting Plate is exactly that (and isn't decadence a good thing for Valentine's Day?).
The plate is HUGE, and each of the six offerings is definitely decadent. And it's definitely retro, filled with old-school favorites like peanut butter and jelly, s'mores, and malted milk balls. With so many different things on one plate, you'd think all the flavors would get muddled, but the through-line of chocolate ties everything together.
To start, let me say that I'm not a fan of either bananas or the combination of peanut butter and jelly. That's why I was so surprised when I genuinely enjoyed both the milk chocolate banana pyramid and the peanut butter and jelly truffles. In the pyramid, the flavor of the sweetened banana puree was mild enough not to be offensive but flavorful enough to evoke the fruit - if all bananas actually tasted like this, I'd eat them all the time. And PB&J is apparently more pleasing to my palate in truffle form.
Also included on the plate are chocolate-covered pretzels, a molten chocolate cake with orange sauce, a giant s'more with a Tahitian vanilla marshmallow and salted graham crackers, and a white chocolate Florentine "love boat" filled with Ciao Bella malted milk ball gelato. This is a serious amount of chocolate, and I couldn't stop eating it. The low point, if there was one, was the molten chocolate cake - it has become such a common dessert at almost every restaurant that everything else stood out in their uniqueness.
So if you're still looking for someplace to eat for Valentine's Day, try giving Finale a call - the Retro Chocolate Plate is something you'll want to savor with your loved one.
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