Flaming foods: Eddie Merlot's

  • Jodi Miller photo
From the Flaming foods: Eddie Merlot's edition

Vanilla Cognac Brownie

Firestarter: Eddie Merlot's

This prime beef steakhouse mini-chain has branches in Ohio and Indiana, but its stained glass, art-deco touches and beige- and tan-theme colors lend it a stylistic lightness that might remind diners of an upscale place in Florida.

The heat is on ...: A big old steak knife, of course. Arriving with a tray full of liquids and doodads, this tableside-assembled dessert is served so ritualistically you might think you've joined a cult after consuming it. The climax happens when a fancy gravy boat full of ignited cognac is poured end-to-end along a held-aloft knife, resulting in a long, streaming indigo flame that's passed in a circle around a giant brownie.

Hot! Hot! Hot!: A futon-sized, mammoth fudgey brownie gets singed dramatically along its edges with fiery blue vanilla cognac. Fudge sauce, creme Anglaise, pecans and a huge scoop of Graeter's vanilla are added. Contrast, tartness and color are provided via pristine blueberries and raspberries. Now, who wouldn't love that?