In theory, a dessert with such simple ingredients--egg yolks, heavy cream, sugar, vanilla--should be easy to make. When it comes to creme brulee, however, it can be difficult to find the dish executed properly--unless you're in France of course. 3-Thirty-3 in Newport Beach, best known for its wine/cocktail lists and "complimentary" valet parking, takes a shot at creme brulee but settles for "good" instead of "excellent."
French for "burnt cream," creme brulee needs the right ratio of heavy cream to vanilla to make the ideal custard. The creme brulee at 3-Thirty-3 could use less cream to tone down its oily texture, and more vanilla (bean or extract) to give the custard a stronger flavor. As is, the vanilla note is too faint.
That said, this restaurant has perfected the art of a creme brulee crust. Created by torching a top layer of sugar until it melts, the crust of 3-Thirty-3's creme brulee is golden brown and cracks with light force to reveal the custard hidden beneath.
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As our Dessert of the Week, creme brulee from the trendy 3-Thirty-3 has the potential to satisfy even the French if a few tweaks are made. The crispy crust is the hardest part to master and this restaurant already has that part down.