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A fancy, high-class cronut? Houston restaurant brings Latin sass to the deep-fried craze

Cronut's hoity-toity upgrade: River Oaks restaurant joins the deep-fried action
América's David Cordúa upgrades the cronut with Latin sass. Photo by Nick Scurfield

If the cronut craze has taught us anything, it's that discerning palates will go to extreme lengths to get a piece of whatever can be dipped in a vat of hot fat. So what if it goes straight to your thighs?

Crunchy exterior, soft interior — there's lots to love here.

Chef David Cordúa has crafted his own version of the croissant-cum-donut coupling, except this deep-fried pastry isn't something you present in a plastic tray or cardboard box lined with red checkerboard paper.

His creation is more at home perched on fine china accompanied by fresh berries, a dusting of confectioner's sugar and sauces with hoity-toity names like coulis and crème fraîche. Skip the pretend French accent though, this dessert speaks a different south-of-the-border language.

 "I've decided to keep the Fried Tres Leches through the summer. In honor of all things Houstonians love, in honor of the spirit of summer carnival, it will stay on special."

Say hola to the Fried Tres Leches at Américas.

Cordúa rolls empanada dough for the envelope, fills it with Italian meringue, fries it to a golden brown and then chills it before presenting it to his guests alongside a smear of tangy crème fraîche that contrasts the sweetness of the core.

Cordúa first created this happy ending for a special five-course tasting menu on Thursday. The finale was paired with a Flaming Dr. Pepe, a cocktail shaken with Brazilian nut beer, Amaretto and rum torched table side. Initially, this dessert wasn't meant to make the regular menu, but in light of the popularity of the cronut, Cordúa is bowing to the deep fried tryst for a tad longer.

"I've decided to keep the Fried Tres Leches through the summer," he tells CultureMap. "In honor of all things Houstonians love, in honor of the spirit of summer carnival, it will stay on special."

The dessert will also make a comeback as part of the restaurant's five-course tasting menu nights in August — Aug. 19 in the River Oaks location and Aug. 26 in The Woodlands location. The tasting menu is priced at $69 plus tax and gratuity.

On the regular menu, the Fried Tres Leches, or fancy cronut, is available for $9.

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