BEST RESTAURANT FOR DESSERT (1998)
Notwithstanding the handful of dessert diamonds around town (the chocolate soufflé at Morton's, for instance, or the orange zest poundcake sautéed in clarified butter with mascarpone citrus sauce at the Table of Contents in St. Paul), there's only one local dessert tray whose every offering is a miracle in flavor and artistic construction. La Belle Vie's cranberry clafouti is a scattering of chewy berries enmeshed in a toasty tartlet of pastry and ringed by wine-dark blood orange sections in a bittersweet Campari sauce. The warm chocolate and chestnut brek is a beautiful package of semitransparent pastry wrapped around an intensely fragrant warm pillow of a moist, dense chocolate-and-chestnut mixture, served with a bourbon crème anglaise. And for the child in us all, nothing is more glamorous than the igloolike raspberry-and-passion-fruit bombe--a dome of raspberry gelato around passion-fruit sorbet. Behold La Belle Vie, new kid on the block dancing around in her glittering dessert tiara.