What is the most UNUSUAL, Creative, Tasty, or Extreme DESSERT in SF?? Thanks!
How about Asian style desserts places like My Favorite Cafe and Creations Dessert House. My Favorite Cafe makes fresh tofu custard desserts on Fridays and Saturdays and it should not be missed. If you are unfamiliar with Asian desserts and have never tried bird's nest, crystal snow, grass jelly, aloe jelly, or sago, then these desserts may be extremely unusual, but not un-assessable. So, so, so good.
Creations Dessert House
5217 Geary Blvd, San Francisco, CA 94118
I'm a fan of off the wall desserts that include savory components, but unfortunately they don't seem to sell enough around here for the talented pastry chefs who produce them to be allowed free reign for long. Range had a fantastic dessert menu that I loved for the first 8 months they were open, but then it was standardized to things that sell better. If anyone knows who the opening pastry chef was, please speak up.
Bar Tartine, in its prior incarnation, had a great pastry chef, Kendra Baker, who also did the desserts at Manresa. I just googled her, and she was one of the opening partners of Penny Ice Creamery in Santa Cruz, of stimulus and Obama State of the Union fame. Sounds like she's doing well, but I selfishly wish her desserts were still available in San Francisco.
Candy Bar on Fulton had really exceptional desserts for a while, things like a chocolate-hazelnut napoleon with celery sorbet that worked well and I remember years later, but last time I was there they'd gone more mainstream. Candy Bar might be worth arranging a special meal at, the chef is probably bored turning out mainstream stuff and would probably welcome a group who wanted some "challenging" desserts.
The best I could recommend of places that will have interesting desserts on the regular menu, right now, has already been mentioned by vulber: Commonwealth. And, perhaps not coincidentally, commonwealth's chef was the primary chef at Bar Tartine back when I liked it, before it mainstreamed.
842 Valencia Street, San Francisco, CA 94110
1335 Fulton St, San Francisco, CA 94117
2224 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110
My husband and I had dinner at Saison on Tuesday night and were blown away by the desserts. We aren't really big dessert eaters, but they have a prix fix menu, so everyone gets dessert. There was a lemon sorbet with green tea "stuff", a crazy carrot/ricotta dessert and then to finish a beautiful, perfect scoop of buttered popcorn ice cream. The popcorn ice cream wasn't listed so it was a surprise, but the others were on the menu and read nothing like what they tasted like. The server said they called the pastry chef a crazy-genius and I have to agree. I don't know who he is, but WOW!! Everything was awesome and surprising. As a side note, we also really enjoyed our dinner too. Great service, great food, great atmosphere.
ETA: This isn't the type of place that you can just get dessert, if that is what you are looking for.
2124 Folsom St., San Francisco, CA 94110
the one problem with this is that any place that has a very unusual dessert will often change up their dessert menu quite frequently. that being said, you can always count on humphry slocombe for unusual ice creams.
I had a great "white russian" semifreddo at Commonwealth a while back with crunchy espresso beans, but I can see that it's no longer on the menu.