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Is Extraordinary Desserts worth it?

Four of us went to Extraordinary Desserts for an after theater bite. We ordered cupcakes and danish. All the food was tasteless, dry and very poor quality. Is this normal or were we just unlucky? With the prices they charge we expected much more.

Extraordinary Desserts
2929 5th Ave, San Diego, CA 92103

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  1. I think you were unlucky. Dry, tasteless and very poor quality is are not usually descriptors associated with ED. How late were you there? If it was very close to the end of the night, i.e. right before closing, you might have gotten the last servings of something that had been sitting all day.

    In my experience ED is a little over priced and sometimes the service can be a bit on the snooty side, but the desserts have usually been pretty good, if not a little on the overly sweet side.

    1. While not without its flaws, Extraordinary Desserts is usually pretty reliable. I usually avoid the items you ordered. They are not the "headliners", if you know what I mean, and usually will sit longer. I like her cakes and specialty pastry items...these things are constantly being replaced fresh from the kitchen.

      Extraordinary Desserts
      2929 5th Ave, San Diego, CA 92103

      1. I've never gotten the hype about this place.
        When I as a customer go in and I get treated like I'm the back of the house instead of the front of the house, there's a problem.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Beach Chick

          Agreed, Beach Chick. Rude service at the Little Italy location. Lackluster desserts that although aesthetically pleasing, don't seem appealing.
          For cupcakes I prefer Inlux and Babycakes.

          1. re: globocity

            I like babycakes too but the last time we were there, we got dry cupcakes (friday evening/night). me and the lady will be back as they are pretty cool there too, and we're always at my friends sushi shop down the street.

        2. Not everything at ED is done equally well, and some contend nothing is done well at all.

          Their small desserts (which you had) are easily the weakest of their offerings. Cookies, danish, scones, cupcakes, shortbread - all that stuff is poorly done there, IMO.

          Where they do best are with their cakes and their ice cream. Their ice cream is some seriously delicious stuff, especially if they have some of the more unusual flavors like sour cream or mascarpone cheese.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Josh

            Agreed on the ice cream. I had the best mango ice cream there!

            1. re: Josh

              I actually think the shortbread cookies are pretty good, and so are the lemon bars and brownies - the danish and breakfast style pastries are not good though, and I've never understood why. My favorite things there by far are the fruit tart & pavlova. Also like the ice creams. (I work right across the street from the L.I. location, so I pop in pretty often.)

              They also make a seriously KILLER hot chocolate. Had one a few weeks ago on a cold afternoon and it was to die for.

            2. I found the desserts look good but are disappointing in taste, but my experience is quite dated.

              1. I wonder if this has anything to do with Karen Krasne focusing on the ED Downtown.

                1 Reply
                1. re: jmtreg

                  Could be, but it may also just be a normal business cycle. ED's been in business a long time. All businesses go through cyclical ups and downs. Given the economy and the state of the restaurant business, it's more likely that ED is just going through a routine part of the down cycle before turning back up. If it could survive the murder that happened on the premises a few years ago, it can survive the normal bumps in the business.

                  Could also be she's had a turn over in pastry chefs as well. Everyone puts their own spin on recipes.

                2. We go about every half year to ED and the last time was about two weeks ago - the cake we had was one of the best we had at their Hillcrest location but the ice cream was a bit disappointing.

                  1. Wouldn't it be better to refer to his establishment as "ExD" or even "EoD" which both seem more recognizable than "ED", which seems, uh, a little flaccid.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Tripeler

                      Only if you constantly have "THAT" on your mind


                    2. Had a nosh there Friday night after the Bencotto shutdown. Place was jammed. Service was very good and friendly/helpful, unlike my experiences at the Hillcrest location, where a nice cup 'o attitude was thoughtfully included with every order. Had two very good desserts and nice "greek" salad and a grilled cheese sandwich. I've forgotten what the chocolate thing was called- had pastry in it-, but the carrot cake was moist and not too sweet.

                      1 Reply
                      1. I've noticed they are sometimes hit and miss with their pastries. Different people are obviously making them, because some of them are wonderful while others have been just as you described. This includes the same dish at different times. The fact that some people here think they're awesome and some think they're awful is actually consistent with my own experience (which is both).

                        Of course, they aren't going to give you a discount for buying things made by a rookie because as a business they want you to think every item is equally delicious. Most places just can't perform at that level of execution.

                        This dilemma reminds me of Gary Danko's in SF, where they put the chef's name next to every dish on the menu every day. That's something more places should be doing, because you sure figure out fast who knows what they're doing. Luckily for them, every dish there comes out perfect which is why they have a one month waiting list.

                        BTW ED's service is also inconsistent over the years, and I'm not talking just the wait staff. There was one time when they were using plastic forks and knives, before reverting back to normal utensils. Their service is also excruciatingly slow most of the time, probably because they try to pack people without the capacity to serve them.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: royaljester

                          I have noticed as the hour grows late they run out of a lot of the good stuff. This sucks for me as I like to dine late, especially for dessert.

                          I too love Gary Danko. It's worth the hotel and flight up for one night in my opinion. It is not hard to get a reservation, you just have to plan ahead.

                        2. I think ED has long been living off its past reputation as the best place for Desserts in all of San DIego, but that time has since passed. In the 90's everything was great, but it became a victim of its success. I felt it went down hill when they started to sell soap along side of the desserts.

                          When I want really good cake, I go to TWIGGS on Adams Avenue. Dan the baker can and will create what every you desire.

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: normalheightsfoodie

                            That's probably true, but its a shame to hear. Lately, when I want dessert, I suck up to my neighbor who runs Elizabethan Desserts. The strawberry rhubarb pie is one of the best damn things ever.

                            Elizabethan Desserts
                            155 Quail Gardens Dr, Encinitas, CA

                            1. re: jmtreg

                              As is the cherry tartlet...and the coconut cupcake...and the caramel pecan bar...and the carrot cake cupcakes...

                              1. re: DiningDiva

                                My wife wonders why I keep going to Sunshine Nursery, but never bring home any plants.

                            2. re: normalheightsfoodie

                              Completely agree about it living of it's reputation. Also the coments about lackluster service and over priced. It gets a lot of press in the Travel Advisor websites so maybe the tourists keep it afloat. If I had to go I'd stick with the cakes slices, but for the most part I think these days the items look better than they taste.

                            3. Husband and I popped into Extraordinary Desserts yesterday and it was sublime.

                              I had the raspberry coffee cake and my husband had the chocolate streusel. The coffee cake was not overly sugary, just the right amount of sweetness in the wonderful thick crust, which was balanced by the tartness in the raspberry.... ohhhh so yummy.

                              The chocolate streusel was rich, flaky, divine, and velvety. Did I mention rich? AND flaky? This dessert was so filling we took most of it home. I just had a bite straight from the fridge and it was STILL tasty.

                              So, Extraordinary still gets my vote.

                              Extraordinary Desserts
                              2929 5th Ave, San Diego, CA 92103

                              1. I was really looking forward to visiting Extraordinary Desserts while on holiday from the UK. Five stars for atmosphere and friendly service, however a questionmark over the 'Extraordinary' part. The desserts here are average, although the environment is a place where one would want to be for socializing with friends.

                                Extraordinary Desserts
                                2929 5th Ave, San Diego, CA 92103