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Jan 12, 2011 07:09 AM

Who is making the best restaurant desserts in New York now?

Need a few suggestions of worthwhile places to go for dessert - restaurant-type desserts, not cupcakes, not diners, etc. Thanks.

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  1. If you're looking for places that specialize in desserts you could check out Chikalicious or Spot Dessert Bar. Neither are restaurants per se, but offer an array of composed desserts (instead of cupcakes, etc.). Chikalicious does a dessert prix fixe (amuses, entree, petit fours) and offers wine pairings. Have been twice and really enjoy Chika's Fromage Blanc Floating Island Cheese Cake, its light at a cloud and not too sweet.

    Spot dessert bar does Asian-themed desserts from Pichet Ong. In addition to some interesting ice cream flavors and cupcakes, they also offer dessert tasting tapas. In particular, I really like their Yuzu Eskimo, and White Miso Semifreddo.

    If those sound too exotic for your tastes, I think Karen Demasco puts out some great desserts at Locanda Verde (Maple Budino), Michael Laiskonis and his famous "egg," Johnny Iuzzini's famous 4-plays are very good.

    I loved the creative desserts of Alex Stupak, formerly at WD 50, but he just left, though, I've sampled some of the sous chef's desserts during a recent 5 course dessert tasting less than a month ago.

    People seem to feel strongly one way or the other about Momofuku Milk Bar, and I'd also suggest that if you like aggressive (salt/sugar) in your desserts. Hope some of these suggestions are helpful.

    Locanda Verde
    377 Greenwich St, New York, NY 10013

    Spot Dessert Bar
    13 St Marks Pl, New York, NY 10003

    Momofuku Milk Bar
    15 W 56th St, New York, NY 10019

    2 Replies
    1. re: TheDegustationAsian

      These are good but very familiar suggestions. I'm hoping to find something newer, off the beaten path, a recent discovery. A diamond in the rough, perhaps?

      1. re: JMinNYC

        If you want new, high end, composed, modern desserts, they're most likely going to be coming from an upscale restaurant. I'm not sure there have really been that many high end openings in the last year, you know?

        I do think that April Bloomfield's desserts and the cookie plate at Torrisi are notable out of restaurants that have opened in the last year or so.

        It appears that Nicole Kaplan is staying out of the restaurant business at the moment by teaching at ICE. I hope she returns at some point. Seems like Sam Mason is also perfectly content running a bar in Brooklyn rather than creating desserts.

    2. I've been super-SUPER impressed with all the desserts I've had at wd-50, and their 3- and 5-course dessert tastings are really reasonable at $38 and $48.

      I know everyone knows about wd-50, but I'm not sure you'd think of it specifically for dessert.

      1 Reply
      1. re: plumpdumpling

        FYI, wd~50's pastry chef, Alex Stupak, just left the restaurant. His last service was this weekend. I wholeheartedly agree that his desserts were excellent. Often the star of the meal.

        I have not been since he left nor have I read any reports. I did hear that Wylie was promoting a sous-chef to pastry chef. I suspect that for awhile the desserts will remain roughly the same, and I can't imagine that execution would slip much. The real test is where things go in the coming months.

      2. Your post reminds me I haven't had many surprising, memorable desserts . . .

        Falai. The passion fruit souffle is an enduring favorite.

        Aldea's little dreams and brioche.

        Rayuela's Crema de Requeson did not sound appealing but was different.

        68 Clinton St, New York, NY 10002

        1 Reply
        1. re: financialdistrictresident

          I had a mandarin souffle at The Mark by Jean-Georges and a green tea souffle at Tribecafe that made me CRAVE not-chocolate souffles. Must try this passion fruit one!

        2. In my opinion, the best pastry chefs are:

          - Michael Laiskonis at Le Bernardin.
          - Marc Aumont at The Modern.
          - Heather Bertinetti at Alto and Convivio.
          - Robert Truitt at Ai Fiori (formerly at Corton).

          Le Bernardin
          155 W. 51st St., New York, NY 10019

          45 Tudor City Place, New York, NY 10017

          239 West Broadway, New York, NY 10013

          Ai Fiori
          400 5th Ave, New York, NY 10018

          3 Replies
            1. re: H Manning

              I have to disagree with you about Truitt -- at least, from the experiences I've had with his desserts. The first time we went to Corton, we did the tasting menu, and the two desserts we had were horrible! The second time we went, another tasting menu and the desserts were better but not anything that would make me consider him one of the best pastry chefs in the city.

              I have not been to Ai Fiori. It's hard to tell from the description on the website, but since the cuisine is totally different from Corton's, i.e., Italian vs. very creative contemporary French, I'm guessing the style of Truitt's desserts are different as well and, hopefully, far more tasty.


              1. re: H Manning

                The Modern has some of the BEST desserts I've EVER had anywhere. We go to the Bar Room just for desserts often.

              2. I think Michael Laiskonis is clearly the best pastry chef in the city, but you can't stop by Le Bernardin just for dessert.

                Alex Stupak, as noted above, has recently left wd~50. His dessert tasting menu there was inventive and accomplished.

                Dominque Ansel (Daniel) is very talented, as is Brooks Headley (Del Posto). Of course, Johnny Iuzzini is very prominent, but I haven't been really impressed by the desserts at Jean Georges recently.

                Jean Georges
                1 Central Park W, New York, NY 10023

                Le Bernardin
                155 W. 51st St., New York, NY 10019

                3 Replies
                1. re: hcbk0702

                  Why not? Do they have a bar? Will they serve dessert there? We went to Falai after a disappointing meal at Allen & Delancey (RIP) . . . We've also gone to Aureole and had dessert and espresso or a cheese course at the bar.

                  1. re: financialdistrictresident

                    Le Bernardin does have a bar, serving the full prix fixe menu and the tasting menus. However, no à la carte.

                    Le Bernardin
                    155 W. 51st St., New York, NY 10019