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Desserts in Connecticut restaurants: SAVE ROOM or PASS?

Not all desserts are created equally. With that in mind, I thought it might be fun to run down where in CT you make a special point to SAVE ROOM for dessert no matter how much you've eaten, and where you definitely PASS on the extra calories 'cause they're not worth it.

- La Tavola, Waterbury (they have their own pastry chef)
- Bistro du Glace, Deep River (same deal--restaurant's owner is married to pastry chef/bakery proprietor next door, sweet partnership, eh?)
- Heritage Trail, Lisbon (Chef Harry whips up some divine creations!)
- Sharpe Hill, Pomfret (never met a dessert I didn't like here)

- Formosa Asian Fusion, North Haven
- Brass City Bistro, Waterbury

What restaurants are on your SAVE ROOM and PASS lists?

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  1. I almost never have dessert these days, so I guess the places that count as "Pass" are not going to come to my attention. But one clear "save room" in New Haven is Zinc: Alba Estenoz's work is incredible! In fact, you might just have a small plate of two, and save room for two of her desserts!

    1 Reply
    1. re: linguist

      Great to know and exactly the type of info I'm after. Keep it comin', please, CT hounds!

      I often say I could skip right over the main course and be happy with appetizers and dessert. ;)

    2. Save room: Abigail's in Simsbury, Grants in West Hartford, Morton's Hartford (hot chocolate cake)....

      1. SAVE ROOM: White and Chocolate Chunk Bread Pudding at any Carmen Anthony Restaurant--I've had it in Woodbury, New Haven and Avon-- although the one in Waterbury was not served hot, a huge disappointment. I never leave without it; cannot bare (sp) to try anything else.

        1. Union League Cafe in New Haven without a doubt. Wish I had more, so this is a great post.

          7 Replies
          1. re: pain au chocolat

            I was really impressed with the desserts at Union League and I've heard good things about Zinc's pastry chef. Some of the SAVE ROOMS on this list are the usual suspects that don't always deliver...but If a restaurant the employs a pastry chef you should definitely SAVE ROOM.

            1. re: aac610

              Please share--which places in the SAVE ROOM category do you find to be the usual suspects that don't always deliver? I can only vouch for my own recommendations. I've not been to very many of the New Haven spots mentioned, but I do agree with your philosophy about saving room if a pastry chef is on the premises...so please tell me more. Union League is already on my list of places to try (but as I always say, the list is ever-expanding). I hate wasting calories and money--it's a bad combo.

              1. re: kattyeyes

                It's the pastry chef at Zinc (Alba Estenoz) who is the key. Her desserts are fascinating and creative, and not actually all that super-caloric.

                1. re: linguist

                  That's nice to know and I like your new avatar! ;)

                2. re: kattyeyes

                  Restaurant Week I had a poached pear at Union League that was terrible. Terrible. Bespoke's RW dessert was much better in concept and execution.

                  Nothing on the Firebox dessert menu appealed, so if I went there again I'd get an extra course earlier in the meal.

                  And the apple tart at Le Petit Cafe outshines the decadent chocolate thing they do, IMO.

                  1. re: zoe p.

                    How funny. One would think a poached pear would be relatively hard to screw up. HA HA!

                    1. re: kattyeyes

                      I think they were trying do something that "kept" well for RW, so I'm not sure their desserts are always such failures. Or maybe they ran out of a better version of the poached pear?

                      That said, my friends have made me much yummier ones.

            2. Good News Cafe in Woodbury and the Tres Leches cake at Bespoke in New Haven. The FOOD at Bespoke doesn't match up to its predecessor, Roomba but the desserts remain intact.

              1. Another place I think belongs on a "save room" list is Nancy's Rosemary and Sage in Old Saybrook. See my recent review at http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/641923 (and note that my experience was a lot more positive than a previous posting at http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/162399 which dates from 2005, just after Nancy took it over). Everything (except the ice cream) is made in house, and if my key lime pie is an indication, the other yummy sounding things on the dessert list would be well worth their calories. Desserts here are much more on traditional lines than the inventive creations at Zinc, but still good. And the fact that the restaurant has "petite" portions of main dishes makes it easier to save the room.

                1. Dessert is the hardest part of the meal to do well, so I usually skip it, but, it is no wonder that places with a dedicated pastry chef usually outshine those that do not. I save room at Grant's, Cavey's, and The Cottage. Asian cuisine does not seem to lend itself to any kind of dessert traditon so I always pass (please........, fortune cookies are not dessert!)

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: thos

                    I know--fortune cookies are NOT dessert, I agree. But I will name at least one Asian place where I do save room--especially since it's fresh in my mind from eating there at lunch!

                    Samurai (Old Saybrook)--today we had tempura fried ice cream. While I would usually not be tempted to try such a thing, the one we had today was especially wonderful. Note that I am not a big fan of chocolate ice cream, but that's what this was. It appeared to be packed in some sort of white cake, then tempura battered and fried. I am especially proud of a chocolate bread pudding I make at home--this oddly enough tasted very much like it. And my dining companion, who usually has one bite of dessert before letting me make a complete cow of myself, even ate half of it with me! :) We have also enjoyed tempura pineapple here. A very different and tasty treat.

                    Oh! And though I usually don't eat dessert there, Wild Ginger in Orange serves especially tasty tempura bananas.

                    Thai Angel in Glastonbury makes tasty fried bananas with honey, too...like little cigarettes filled with banana if I remember correctly...and unless my menu is so old the prices are out of whack, how can you go wrong for $2.50?

                    Ohhhhhhhh! And Cavos on the Pike in Newington makes excellent galaktoboureko and baklava. Their meals are so filling, I've taken my dessert to go more than once!

                  2. Key Lime Pie @ Burton's Grill in Evergreen Walk, South Windsor. Share one