Apps and desserts at 2 Charlotte restaurants

This is the second in an occasional series of stories that profile appetizers and desserts at two different local restaurants.

Desserts: Savannah Red

100 W. Trade St., inside the Marriott Hotel, 704-358-6524

Pictures of fire decorate the walls of this Marriott Hotel restaurant, so I suppose I shouldn’t have been surprised when my wedge of Krispy Kreme bread pudding arrived encircled in blue flames. I suspect the Maker’s Mark caramel had something to do with that.

Usually, Krispy Kreme doughnuts can be cloyingly sweet, and I feared the bread pudding might be as well. But the paper-thin slices of Granny Smith apples draped over the pudding not only helped keep the pudding moist, but also kept it from tasting overly sweet. The apples were almost too thin to see, but the flavor definitely comes through.

Our second dessert was a housemade port wine ice cream. I think the true test of good ice cream is how it tastes without the extra mix-ins (chocolate chips, nuts, cookies, etc.). How does it feel in your mouth? Does it taste like the flavor it proclaims to be?

Savannah Red’s port wine ice cream scored high marks in all categories. It was slightly harder than soft serve, had a silky texture and a sharp, sweet, faintly perceptible fruit flavor.

Apps: Cowfish Sushi Burger Bar

4310 Sharon Road, 704-365-1922

Cowfish’s blackened tuna “nachos” may be my new preferred version of that dish. Squares of crisp wontons were layered with crab rangoon dip, avocado salsa, tomatoes, micro greens and blackened yellow fin tuna that’s cooked rare and sliced thin.

The nachos were spicy, crunchy and garlicky. The tuna was close to being overpowered as the other favors were just so dominant. But the fish really was lovely and would make a fine appetizer on its own.

The lobster crab spring roll was by far the most visually stunning appetizer I’ve eaten in some time. In terms of taste, it’s not as in your face as the nachos, but it has its charms. The drizzles of sauce (Thai chili and spicy honey marmalade) served with it helped the flavors up a notch.

While I’ve only eaten it once, I know that at some point a craving for Cowfish’s Parmesan truffle fries will visit me. Truffle oil has its critics, but I don’t care. Drizzle some truffle oil on fries, garnish them with applewood bacon and Parmesan cheese, and I’m your new best friend. At least until the fries run out.