For last week’s Fat Pants Friday, we praised the considerably beauty of the Blue Stove Bakery’s cherry pie. This week, we’ve crossed back over the river to consider the merits of the first cousin to the pie, the tart. Specifically, the banana tart Karen DeMasco bakes at Locanda Verde.
One of the great virtues of the tart is that, like the pie, it can be filled with just about anything, be it fruit, custard, almond paste, chocolate, cheese, onions — basically, the parameters of the crust are the only limitation placed on what goes inside it. DeMasco’s banana tart is almost more like banana bread with a tart shell — it’s springy, dense, and moist, and wears a stylish hat of sliced, caramelized bananas. Its shell is buttery and tastes of toffee, a nice nod to the sloppy glories of banoffee pie.
When it’s served in the restaurant the tart is accompanied by a smooth, cool lump of banana gelato, but if you ask nicely at the café counter, you can also get the gelato to take away. With or without its accomplice, the tart is a substantial and satisfying way to end the week. Its somewhat unassuming, elegant proportions belie its gutbusting capability — it’s like a hand grenade housed in a Tiffany box. On the Fat Pants scale, it rates a relaxed fit, though the gelato nudges it dangerously towards sweatpants territory.
At $9, Locanda Verde’s banana tart isn’t cheap, but if you treat it as a meal — which it is — then it’s not such a bad deal. And as a way to end the week, its payback is priceless.
377 Greenwich Street