Tiny Lou’s, the French-American brasserie opening in the historic Hotel Clermont in April, now has a pastry chef. Claudia Martinez, formerly of Atlas, Umi, and Restaurant Eugene, will lead the dessert program for the entire hotel, focusing primarily on Tiny Lou’s and the Clermont Café. Currently pastry chef for the Indigo Road (the Charleston-based restaurant group that oversees the hotel’s food and beverage program), Martinez will continue to oversee Indigo Road-owned O-Ku and Donetto.
“Originally, I had a lot of classic French pastry on the menu: mont blanc, cream puffs, creme brûlée,” Martinez says. “But Tiny Lou’s is going to be a big deal, on top of a historical landmark. I realized I could have some fun with the menu.”
The menu is inspired by the history and folklore of the Clermont. “The Ode to Blondie is my love letter to the Clermont Lounge icon, [longtime dancer Blondie, who is known for her beer-can-crushing talents.] A blondie is a classic American dessert, but mine has savory elements topped with ice cream. Like Blondie, it has some flair,” Martinez says.
Her gypsy tart is named after the 1950s dancer of the same name. “A gypsy tart is originally a dessert from England, often made when people didn’t have many ingredients in the pantry,” Martinez explains. “I added some toasted meringue and raspberry to mine.”
There’s also the Royale Venezuelan dark chocolate mousse, an ode to Martinez’s roots, and several sorbets featuring ingredients such as guava and passion fruit. The Blondie and Royale will be staples on the menu, which will change every two to three months.
There will also be a dessert cart rolled around the dining room featuring select off-menu items. Martinez promises glazed cakes and “interactive” desserts that “keep guests entertained.”
As for the Café, Martinez says her plan is to “keep it super classic.” There will be macarons, croissants, blondies, breads, and eclairs. (She is making certain breads, like brioche for Tiny Lou’s, but partnering with Proof Bakeshop for others.)
Martinez was originally a savory chef and studied culinary arts at Johnson & Wales University. While working at Restaurant Eugene, the former pastry chef there, Aaron Russell, convinced her to try her hand at pastry. “I like the light, savory desserts—things that aren’t going to ruin your experience by being so heavy,” she says. She ended up staging for chef David Vidal in Sweden, before returning to Atlanta and working at some of the city’s best fine dining restaurants.
Check out her dessert menu for Tiny Lou’s below.
Crème de Fraises
Strawberry mousse, black pepper crumble, basil-lime sorbet, strawberry consommé
Ode to Blondie
Brown butter blondie, curried bananas flambé, buttermilk ice cream, hazelnut crémeux
Vanilla sable, muscavado custard, raspberry, toasted meringue
Venezuelan chocolate mousse, coffee cream, biscuit joconde, cardamom ganache
Crêpe Suzette Cake
Thin French crêpes, orange cream, warm beurre suzette, citrus
Trio of Sorbets
Assortment of sorbets with seasonal accoutrements