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Why aren't dessert menus presented simultaneously with the regular menu?

Assuming it's separate, why isn't a dessert menu presented to the diners the same time the regular menu is?

Even the wine menu usually, if not always, is.

If there is something on the dessert menu that I want, then I want to know about it before I order the rest of my meal.

Because if there is a particular dessert that catches my eye -- say, a really decadent cheesecake or custard -- then I might either opt to skip on an appetizer or order a lighter or different entree course.

In other words, I want the full panoply of information before I make my selections for the meal, which should of course include dessert.

And just because I may not want to order dessert, doesn't mean I shouldn't at least be informed of my options before I order my savory courses.

Even wine selections certainly are not so relegated to such 2nd Class Citizen status -- the wine list is usually presented or offered to the table with the menu. If the diners are not going to be ordering wine, then the list is retrieved.

Why can't the same dynamics work for the dessert menu?

Why make us wait, after we've ate our meal, to make the dessert decision?

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  1. "Because if there is a particular dessert that catches my eye -- say, a really decadent cheesecake or custard -- then I might either opt to skip on an appetizer or order a lighter or different entree course".

    They want you to order multi-courses AND dessert! LOL! Pro or con I'm not tempted by a "meh" kind of dessert. It's got to be something I REALLY want otherwise I just pass.

    1 Reply
    1. re: letsindulge

      Exactly because you might not order the more expensive entree (which is usually a heavier one) just to save room.

    2. Most good restaurants will save the dessert menu for last because the desserts stand out much more than putting them at the bottom of a menu. Most people don't think of dessert before they order dinner. But if you want to see it just ask your server when he brings your dinner and wine menu.

      1 Reply
      1. re: The Drama Queen

        And that is the answer I would have given, Drama Queen.

        Not all restaurants have separate menus; many diners list them on the menu together along with the one hundred other dining options, and my feeling is this is just to streamline service. Desserts listed at the bottom of a menu tend to get overlooked when ordering the entree, which necessitates bringing the menu back to the diner if dessert is desired. That's not a bad thing, just a bit clumsy. A separate dessert menu is a little classier, delineates and showcases the pastry chef's skills; the server will suggest dessert after the entree is finished, which adds to the check's bottom line and a larger tip, hopefully. Besides, it's nice to have a leisurely meal, finish your wine, then think about the possibility of dessert, peruse the menu; no rush to make a decision.

        I'm sure any restaurant would be very happy to have a diner check out the dessert menu up front for complete dinner continuity. It's less uncommon for people to ask to see the dessert menu when ordering the mains than one would think.

      2. If I saw what's for dessert, I know I'd gage my eating accordingly and save room. But usually, dessert is the least $$ item, so maybe they hold the dessert menu until the end because of that.
        Usually, I don't even ask to see the dessert menu because I'm too full. Their loss!

        35 Replies
        1. re: monavano

          Because desserts in a restaurant are seldom made on the premises, the cost to the restaurant is higher. If you're ordering a larger meal instead of cutting down to save room for dessert, they are making a larger profit. And that's as it should be.

          1. re: The Drama Queen

            I don't think this holds true as much anymore. I'm seeing more and more restaurants that have a pastry chef. Admittedly, they often take short shrift in the kitchen, having to work around the chef and even the sous chefs, but in this tight economy, owners are seeing the light on doing it all in house.

            1. re: amyzan

              I agree with you. I can't think of any decent place that doesn't make their own desserts. Not necessarily their bread but, yes, their desserts.

              1. re: c oliver

                Then you need to come to Vegas. Most "decent" restuarants in this town don't have pastry chefs and don't make their dessert in house. Not that there is anything wrong with it, but those yummy cheesecakes, carrot cakes, creme brulees and all the other mouth watering dessert are made elsewhere and purchased by the restaurant. Not all places do this of course, but it is very common.

                1. re: The Drama Queen

                  I'm very surprised to hear that. With so many top chefs opening places in Las Vegas I would have assumed that desserts are made in-house. I'm thinking Robuchon, e', Twist, Guy Savoy, etc. Ah well, such is life.

            2. re: The Drama Queen

              That's not always the case.

              Most restaurants that list their desserts on a separate menu do so because they want to highlight the creations of their own in-house pastry chef.

              It's these restaurants that I am curious about. They go through the effort to hire a dedicated pastry chef (or chefs), then sort of relegate their creations to 2nd Class status.

              1. re: ipsedixit

                Restaurants that have a dedicated dessert chef want to know your choices early so they can create the perfect dessert--tart, galette or ice cream--created to match your palette. That's why I love places that ask you to order dessert when you order your dinner, so they can create the best,.

                1. re: escondido123

                  If that's what you want to believe, go ahead.

                  Pastry chefs frequently work days and the plating is done by an assistant or a line cook. The components of the desserts are prepared in the morning and put together at the last minute. Nobody is making your ice cream to order to suit your taste, sorry.

                  1. re: babette feasts

                    Gotta agree with you babette feasts. Creating a galette, baking it (about an hour) then cooling it down you can eat it just isn't possible. Neither is ice cream which takes about 4 hours just to cure. No pastry chef makes one dessert at a time so that theory isn't valid. Frankly in the 50 years I've been dining out I've never had anyone ask me to order dessert when I order dinner. Dessert isn't even mentioned til after dinner is done. Most often: "Would you like to see a dessert menu?" "Uhh, no thanks, buuuurrrp!!"

                    1. re: The Drama Queen

                      I recently ate (for the first time) at mid-range Chain restaurant. For some reason I did see a part of the menu that said if you wanted the breadpudding to order it before your regular order so that it would be done by the time you finish.
                      Usually I don't look to see if there is a dessert menu as a part of the regular menu, so it must've been obvious. Good marketing, because I did order it. I don't often order desert. I can't recall if my regular order was trimmed down because of my upcoming dessert. I don't think it would've made a difference in cost, but in size.

                    2. re: babette feasts

                      I believe it because I've been to restaurants that actually do it--make dessert to order. I can see I implied that actually made one that was yours alone, with flavors unique to your palate, and I apologize for that. But I have been to restaurants where they actually put together the tart or make the ice cream when they get the order. Sorry that's never been your experience.

                      1. re: escondido123

                        Well, of course, you're right escondido. Restaurants make some dessert to order but not most (just as they make some dishes for other courses to order, and others are pre-prepped and just blast heated - noone thinks that the resto has a secret way of doing a long-braised lamb shank from scratch when the order comes in).

                        You'll usually spot the made to order dishes, like the souffle - the menu's going to say there''ll be a 20 minute delay on that one.

                        1. re: escondido123

                          Interesting. I'm curious how they make ice cream to order. Liquid nitrogen? Or just processed in the Pacojet to order? Great for them if they really do that, but I think you know it is the exception rather than the rule.

                          1. re: babette feasts

                            If I remember properly, they use small individual metal containers that are kept in the freezer until needed. Then the ingredients are added and they're put into an electric base of some sort.. You can see them doing it. Of course I know it is unusual, but that's what makes it exceptional. Other posters seemed to question the idea that any restaurant would actually make desserts to order so I just wanted to say there are some that do.

                            1. re: escondido123

                              I'd venture to say that it's not necessarily a superior product to, say, the menu c oliver posted below from Babbo. There are many desserts that do need to be made in advance and making your selection only to those that can be made to order is limiting. I wonder how they make panna cotta to order. That takes time in the refrigerator. What about chocolate cake? Do you have to wait for them to make the batter, cook, cool and frost, just to get one piece? I'd love to see how it works backstage there.

                              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7827...

                              1. re: chowser

                                I do not think I said they made all their desserts to order. So your complaint is made-to-order limits selection and not-made-to-order may not be up to snuff. Makes it kind of tough.

                                1. re: escondido123

                                  I went to their web site and that's what it said about made to order. No need to get so defensive, I was just wondering, out loud so to speak, how they managed to do it with some of their selections. And, I was commenting that there are desserts that are time consuming to make and still worth having on the menu, as with Babbo's and it does seem like they do limit themselves if they only do made to order desserts. I never said any of what you've accused me of, as quality goes, nor was I complaining about anything. I'm only commenting that "made to order" may not be necessarily superior.

                                  http://www.alforno.com/menu.pdf

                                  1. re: chowser

                                    Fair enough. Didn't mean to get defensive. Guess I was still a little annoyed by other posters who dubbed me naive or stupid if I thought desserts were really "made to order."

                                    1. re: escondido123

                                      Ignore them :)

                                      1. re: c oliver

                                        I'm finally using a +1 !

                                        1. re: HillJ

                                          That's hysterical, hillj. :) Big :)

                                          1. re: c oliver

                                            I might bake a cake!

                                            1. re: HillJ

                                              +1. It's contagious--I've never used one before either!

                                              1. re: chowser

                                                Y'all too silly. But, yeah, ignore them.

                              2. re: escondido123

                                Sounds like probably a paco jet. Paco jet canisters are pre-frozen with about 3 cups of ice cream or sorbet base, then frozen solid. When a serving is needed, the canister is attached to the machine with a blade magnetically put on a rotor shaft. The bade spins at very high rpm to shave a very thin layer of the frozen product off, a layer thin enough that particles or ice crystals cannot be detected by the tongue. The product needs to be frozen solid for the machine to work well. I suppose you could add a syrup or fruit to a canister, but I believe the machine has limitations with certain textures or nonuniform textures.

                                1. re: babette feasts

                                  No this was a small container that made basically one large serving at a time. It was a few years ago so can't remember more details. Sorry.

                        2. re: escondido123

                          Ms Escondido

                          Oh if that were only true. Another wonderful scam is the "You have to order the souffle before the appetizer." Total BS. The restaurant just wants the order while you're hungry.

                          I would love the name of any restaurant that creates the perfect tart to match my palatte on order.

                          1. re: nobadfoodplz

                            As I said above, I didn't mean custom as in you get to pick the flavors. But if you want the perfect tart, go to Al Forno in Providence. The fruit changes throughout the season and they are made one by one. No BS.

                        3. re: ipsedixit

                          Ms Ipse

                          I would disagree and state that if they include on the main menu shuffled to the bottom of the bottom right or on the last page of the menu book (I shuddeer even writing what kind of restaurant that might be, disgusting) is more of a second class designation than a separate menu and service.

                          I always viewed it as the second act in a play.

                          1. re: nobadfoodplz

                            FYI, ipse is a "Mr."

                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                              No, worries. I've been called worse ...

                              :-)

                              1. re: ipsedixit

                                ha! well, i felt the need to make the correction because *i* erroneously assumed you were female for a long time, and someone else finally set me straight a couple of years ago :)

                                1. re: ipsedixit

                                  Awww, the question is, have you been called better?;-)

                                  1. re: chowser

                                    ghg has certainly tried ... http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7830...

                                    :-)

                          2. re: The Drama Queen

                            Most places I eat make their own desserts. Or I probably wouldn't go to them.

                        4. ipsedixit>>>>
                          it's apparent you don't dine in chain restaurants often, they have the dessert menus on the table waiting for your eyes to feast upon them, of course the desserts are usually far better than the food served as mains and appetizers.

                          By not giving both menus at once, a diner might not calculate the total cost of the meal. Afgter the main, the diner nmight forget whether the steak was 24.95 or 27.95 and that the dessert will push the meal over the next dollar benchmark.

                          In some restaurants the dessert menu coming later replaced the dessert cart which was wheeled about after the mains, there was no printed dessert menu.

                          I've sometime seen restaurants skip the dessert menu if they are in a rush to turn the table for the next seating.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: bagelman01

                            I have a major sweet tooth. I like having the dessert menu there on the table in front of me from the beginning of the meal... that way I can drool over the anticipated deliciousness of my dessert, and make sure that I have enough room left for it. If I don't see a menu, I won't know what I'm missing and I most likely won't have dessert at all.

                          2. In my limited fine dining experience, I'd say desserts on the same menu are becoming more common. (At least, this is my thought here in the KC area, which I think is sort of a B market for fine dining, admittedly.) I'm finding that the only items not somewhere on the menu are bottles of wine. Increasingly, I'm seeing desserts, mixed drinks, wines by the glass, all on the menu with the apps, salads, and entrees.

                            7 Replies
                            1. re: amyzan

                              bagelman01 and amyzan,

                              My query is really directed at those places where the menus are separate.

                              I concur that lots of restaurants list everything on one menu, wine included, esp. chain restaurants or chain type restaurants.

                              1. re: ipsedixit

                                ipsedixit,

                                Actually the chain restaurants tend to have a dessert menu sitting on the table when the hostess seats you. The desserts are not part of the main menu.

                                My 22 year old likes to eat a large diner that has a desert showcase to peruse upon entry. She picks out her dessert before she is seated, and sometimes just orders several desserts as her meal.

                                My wife's mantra>>>Life is short, east dessert first.

                                1. re: bagelman01

                                  Wouldn't eating a large diner spoil her appetite for dessert?

                                  1. re: bcarter3

                                    22 year old college students get severe cases of the munchies, if I can remember back far enough I think it comes with drink and wacky weed

                                    1. re: bagelman01

                                      i think bcarter was making a joke re: a missing preposition in your post...you said your daughter likes to "eat a diner" not eat AT a diner ;)

                                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                        I understood the comment on my typo, b ut felt the comment on the 20 somethings appetites appropriate...................

                                2. re: ipsedixit

                                  Are restaurants still pulling out a dessert cart in LA, too? The rest of the country has tightened its belt and its menus much more. Here in flyover country, separate dessert menus are largely not done, even by local or regional chains. You west coasters are so RETRO! <wink>

                              2. While I agree I would like to know ahead of time, I find it a fun game to eavesdrop on another table when the waiter reviews the dessert selections (assuming there's no menu - which is not your point) or to watch as they come out of the kitchen....but I do that with all the food....hmmm, what's that dish?

                                1. I sometimes have an "oh, what the heck," moment after a good dinner or am not very full, and am more likely to order dessert. Ordering everything at once is too big of a commitment.

                                  1. I'm with you, I like to peruse the dessert menu before I order, in case there's something that catches my eye and I'd like to save room for. These days though, unless there's a cheese plate, I very rarely order dessert so it needs to be really eye catching and in which case, I'll suck it up and overeat and pass out into a food coma afterwards. Which come to think of it, is probably what restaurants want you do. Tack on that extra bit to the bill at the end by ordering something you don't really need but do really want. Sneaky! Bwa ha ha....

                                    1. I'm with you. I'm usually too full for dessert but if I had known there was something tempting, I wouldn't have ordered less but I would have eaten less. I was at a restaurant recently that had desserts on a tray near the hostess stand. Tempting and I did save room.

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: chowser

                                        if I had known there was something tempting, I wouldn't have ordered less but I would have eaten less.
                                        ~~~~~~~~~~
                                        ah, see, there's the rub. i think most restaurants assume you *would* have ordered less, and since they generally make more $$ on savory courses than they do on dessert, they figure they're better off getting you to pay for the pricier items...and then maybe scoring a bonus sale with dessert.

                                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                          That's not always true.

                                          The most classic example is desserts at steakhouses.

                                          Most steakhouses would gladly have you order just side dishes (mashed potatoes, broccoli, etc.) and desserts, and pass on all the cuts of beef where the margins are the slimmest.

                                      2. In the restaurants I go to I cannot remember the last time I saw the dessert choices presented with the full menu. I make sure to balance my appetizer and entree choices for the 2-course experience and see no need to see the desserts while I am planning the other courses. If I was of a different mindset and I wanted to plan the dessert course as well I would just ask for the menu at te same time. Seems about as hard as asking what soda they have.

                                        And to why? One of those questions I could not care less about. There are only a set amount of desserts in 95% of the restaurants, cake, pie, cheesecake, a custard of some sort, an ode to the fruit of the season, a gelato or ice cream. Some will also have a crepe to surround one of the above or a bread pudding. I like the second epiphany of seeing the dessert menu and making decision #2 to cap off the night.

                                        1. Maybe in addition to the financial incentive to the restaurant to hold off the dessert choice, it's partly just tradition, seen as the pacing of a nice meal.

                                          In any case if restaurants started presenting dessert menu with entree menu, don't you think there'd be a chorus of Chowhounds screeching, "Dagnabbit! They rushed me. Chateau de Casa wanted me to tell them which dessert I wanted even before I got my steak!!! Poor service, will NEVER go there again." ;^)

                                          4 Replies
                                          1. re: DuchessNukem

                                            Second paragraph is one of the best posts I've ever seen here!!! Absolutely, perfectly spot on.

                                            1. re: DuchessNukem

                                              BTW, I assume you were at least half joking :)

                                              1. re: c oliver

                                                I did winkle. ;)

                                                Plus, I seldom "Dagnabbit!" or "Con-sarnit!" except in jest. Unless I'm at a Prospector Convention.

                                              2. re: DuchessNukem

                                                I think paragraph two is great also. I am particularly fond of the allusion to Calvin Trillin...

                                              3. Never thought about it. Probably rooted in some tradition, or possibly just another opportunity to show service skills.

                                                Trying to get everyone to order desserts at the beginning could backfire, with confusing cancellations and mind-changing.

                                                Please ask to see the dessert menu at any moment you desire it.

                                                8 Replies
                                                1. re: babette feasts

                                                  ... but not on a first date. Maybe it's just me, but a dinner partner who asks to see the dessert menu before dinner is making a terrible first impression. It would remind me of the movie "Big": a child in a grownup's body.

                                                  1. re: WNYamateur

                                                    That might be the hottest thing a guy could do, imo, on a first date. I'm not into the Peter Pan type guy but a guy who loves desserts, hmmmm. It might be why I love Jacques Torres.

                                                    1. re: chowser

                                                      It really depends on how you go about asking for it.

                                                      It's one thing to say, "I'd like to peruse the dessert menu so that my entrees and other savory courses do not clash with my dessert selection," but it's quite another thing to say "I've got to see if they have a 10" chocolate cake because Mommy never ever let me have dessert first and now that I'm a 'grown up' I'm going to do as I please!"

                                                      1. re: ipsedixit

                                                        Yeah, mentioning Mommy on a date, any date, is never a good idea.

                                                        1. re: chowser

                                                          ROLFLMAO!!! :-)

                                                    2. re: WNYamateur

                                                      amateur: "Maybe it's just me, but a dinner partner who asks to see the dessert menu before dinner is making a terrible first impression."

                                                      It's just you.

                                                      1. re: Jay F

                                                        Yup. When I was single, I thought it was great if a guy was into dessert. I figured he wasn't just a boring meat and potatoes person who only ate to live.

                                                      2. re: WNYamateur

                                                        > a child in a grownup's body

                                                        When I worked at a small college, I went to lunch with the head of our department, a PhD, who ate his dessert first. I asked if that was his regular habit, and he said his mother always told him, "just eat what you want."

                                                        It made me wonder a bit if he was indeed a child in a man's body. A little like the legend of the job candidate who forfeits his chance for the position he seeks through what his potential boss reveals of his personality by salting his food prior to tasting it.

                                                    3. I suppose the answer to the OPs actual question is "because that's how it's always been" - except, of course, for quite a number of places I know where desserts are listed on the main menu, rather than a separate menu.

                                                      1. At our favorite sort of upscale restaurant, the dessert menu is on the last page of the menu "book", and the dessert specials of the day are posted on the same page as the other daily specials. We always intend to have dessert but are always too full. Then we'll talk about coming and getting an appetizer and dessert byt we never do. The pastry chef there has gotten some accolades and while I'm not a chocolate person, the seasonal tarts always sound especially good to me.

                                                        24 Replies
                                                        1. re: junescook

                                                          Many, many years ago a friend and I actually did what you haven't - yet. It was a Hungarian restaurant and we never made it to dessert. So finally we went and had soup, salad and dessert. It was perfect.

                                                          1. re: junescook

                                                            it's no crime to order a great-sounding dessert boxed up to go at the end of a meal, just sayin. that way you can draw out the experience of a meal at your favorite restaurant for a couple more hours, and you can enjoy the last few sweet bites w your tie loosened/pumps off, at home, relaxed. . . you get the picture. :)

                                                            1. re: soupkitten

                                                              Yep, when I was younger I always thought "wouldn't it be nice to just get appetizers and desserts" and "wouldn't it be nice to order dessert to go, since I'm too full now." Now that I'm old enough to not care what people think, I have been known to do both.

                                                            2. re: junescook

                                                              I've ordered a whole pie to go when I was too full for dinner.

                                                              1. re: chowser

                                                                Now that's the kind of person I'd date ...

                                                                1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                  LOL, and "Don't even bother packing utensils or napkins..." It was more my being indecisive and didn't know how hungry I might be later.

                                                                  1. re: chowser

                                                                    100% awesome.

                                                                    1. re: soupkitten

                                                                      It seems in So. California at least, there's a cut-a-paste dessert menu that too many restaurants share. All of it is pretty much heat and serve.

                                                                      Chocolate molten cake
                                                                      bread pudding
                                                                      creme brulee
                                                                      tart tatin

                                                                      Restaurants desperately need to bring the pastry chef back. :(

                                                                      1. re: david t.

                                                                        not just southern california, unfortunately! i've bemoaned the same thing happening everywhere. this is not even the first time i have written in a chowhound post: i do not understand why the individual chocolate molten cake won't just die already!!!

                                                                        it is still a restaurant law set in stone somewhere that there has to be something chocolate on the dessert menu at all times, but still, i have hope for the future. i've had some pretty interesting dessert offerings lately-- and as for the "ol' standbys," i've had some really excellent creme brulees and choc cakes, too-- actually i had a french silk pie recently that was surprisingly great-- it redeemed dozens of bad french silk pies, like circa 1994-type, bad, too much stabalized-whipped-cream french silk pies. mmmm, pie. pie needs to be on more dessert menus-- real, in-house crafted, made with seasonal fruit, pie.

                                                                        1. re: soupkitten

                                                                          Blame it on cooking and/or pastry school.

                                                                          It almost seems like one has to know how to temper chocolate before one can graduate from cooking school these days. So sad, and myopic.

                                                                          1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                            Sad and myopic to learn how to temper chocolate? How so? I'm confused.

                                                                            1. re: babette feasts

                                                                              i'm sure ipse will jump in to answer you, but i think his "sad and myopic" comment was in relation to soupkitten's statement about the ubiquity of chocolate on menus.

                                                                              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                Yup.

                                                                                1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                  I understand that not everyone likes chocolate, but many, many people do. It would be silly for a restaurant to not offer a chocolate dessert.

                                                                                  Certainly there should be other options. And yes, molten chocolate cake and creme brulee are tired and boring to many, but they both have incredible popular appeal, can be very satisfying when done well, and are cost-effective for the restaurant (easy to make, appropriate food cost).

                                                                                2. re: babette feasts

                                                                                  Sad and myopic to learn how to temper chocolate? How so? I'm confused.

                                                                                  ____________________________

                                                                                  Sad and myopic b/c cooking schools and instructors believe that tried-and-true techniques are the "only basics" are the only way to teach young pastry chefs.

                                                                              2. re: soupkitten

                                                                                Oooh, yes! More fruit pies, please! And once you master crust, it's not that hard to make a good-tasting fruit pie.

                                                                                1. re: soupkitten

                                                                                  i feel compelled to jump in here and defend some of the tried-and-trues. i'm as a big a fan of change and variation as the next girl, but for some of us, flourless chocolate cake and creme brulee are the only sweet options beyond ice cream/sorbet or a bowl of fruit...so unless a restaurant offers GF pies or pastries (and i've yet to encounter one that does), i'll be happy to see those standbys remain firmly in place.

                                                                                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                    I'm with you on this, ghg.

                                                                                    As long as a dessert is well-made, I don't care if it is tried-and-true or a new-fangled creation. I would much prefer a well-made flourless chocolate cake (for example) than a poorly made deconstructed cheesecake poptart with foam (for example).

                                                                                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                      i may either agree w you wholeheartedly-- or we should be meeting for a shootout at high noon, GHG! ;)

                                                                                      if you are saying that beautifully executed classic desserts such as creme brulee (and my fave, the elusive perfect lemon tart) will always be a thrill to find on a well-rounded menu, no matter what era we're in--we agree. these are timeless delights.

                                                                                      if you're saying individual choc lava cakes are "classics" along w the above, i'll be getting my six-guns now. . .

                                                                                      1. re: soupkitten

                                                                                        ha!

                                                                                        note that i said flourless chocolate cake, not molten lava cake. IMHO, there's a huge difference between a beautiful bete noir or chocolate torte and one of those mass-produced heat & serve concoctions you find at places that can't be bothered to prepare proper desserts.

                                                                                        but my primary point was that dessert menus are, by nature, gluten-heavy, which leaves people like me with very limited options...which would be even more limited if things like creme brulee and flourless chocolate cake disappeared.

                                                                                        you can go ahead and holster your weapon now...even if we had found ourselves at opposite ends of the dessert table, this bleeding-heart liberal wouldn't have a gun to draw anyway ;)

                                                                                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                          of course i got your gluten-free ref--and if a required "death by chocolate" dessert is an old dessert-menu rule, two modern updated "rules"/improvements would be "must have at least 1 gf dessert' and "local seasonal fruit-based dessert." i like seeing the old fashioned gf desserts like panna cottas and creme caramels coming back as a result. i love seeing these desserts made in restaurants because so few folks make them at home any more, and when they are made with great ingredients they can be so perfect.

                                                                                          i do think the worst are the mass-produced frozen cakes and cheesecakes from sysco or restaurant depot which are always served tarted up with shelf stable corn-syrup based artificially colored "dessert sauce"

                                                                                          http://www.shalitfoods.com/canada/lyo...

                                                                                          ugh. see, who needs guns, when there are wmd such as fluorescent-green kiwi-lime "dessert-sauce" falling into the hands of homicidal madmen on a daily basis, and these lunatics won't hesitate to use them on an unsuspecting populace. . . i lose sleep over this. see, i'm doing it right now!

                                                                                          1. re: soupkitten

                                                                                            Unrelated to this thread, I had the Babbo website open. Here are their dessert choices. Definitely not an afterthought. I haven't had breakfast yet and this got me going :)

                                                                                            D O L C I E F O R M A G G I


                                                                                            Chocolate Hazelnut Cake
                                                                                            with Orange Sauce and Hazelnut Gelato $13

                                                                                            Saffron Panna Cotta
                                                                                            with Grapefruit “Tris” $13

                                                                                            Banana Custard Crostata “Smontata”
                                                                                            with Salty-Sweet Hazelnuts $13

                                                                                            Maple and Mascarpone Cheesecake
                                                                                            with Crème Fraiche and Saba $13

                                                                                            Pineapple Cake “Sottosopra”
                                                                                            with Rum Zabaione and Buttered Almonds $13

                                                                                            Warm Date and Walnut Budino
                                                                                            with Caramel and Buttermilk Gelato $13

                                                                                            Pistachio and Chocolate Semifreddo $13

                                                                                            Biscotti and Cookies $15

                                                                                            Assortment of Gelati and Sorbetti $13

                                                                                            Selection of Three Cheeses $12
                                                                                            of Five Cheeses $15
                                                                                            of Seven Cheeses $18
                                                                                            Robiola Bosina
                                                                                            Fragolino
                                                                                            Pecorino Pepato
                                                                                            Coach Farm Triple Creme
                                                                                            La Tur
                                                                                            Montasio
                                                                                            Taleggio
                                                                                            Gorgonzola Dolce
                                                                                            Parmigiano Reggiano

                                                                                            Vino al Bicchiere “da Formaggio”
                                                                                            “Tocai Plus,” Bastianich 2006 (Friuli) $15
                                                                                            Verduzzo, Ronchi di Cialla 2005 (Friuli) $12

                                                                                  2. re: david t.

                                                                                    And this is why I don't order dessert as often as I used to--I'm totally sick of those things. And cheesecake. Can we just make cheesecake go away?

                                                                                    1. re: Isolda

                                                                                      My family was in the restaurant business and we went to the food trade shows where vendors sold their desserts to restaurants. Cheesecake is the number one seller. I would love to see it just disappear but it seems more people order it and one of the reasons would be that the off site baker makes the basic cheesecake then the restaurant tops it with whatever topping they choose making it "their own." I would love to see more homemade pies which seem to be making an appearance here and there lately.

                                                                        2. I'm with you, I'd like to see the dessert menu at the beginning of the meal. Being both greedy and usually hungry when I sit down to peruse the menu I often prioritise for the here and now, rather than for dessert later - and then I get sad if I'm too full or find that there's nothing I really want. It doesn't necessarily mean I won't order an entree (appetiser), but I might just order something lighter to start, or go easy on the sides with my main course.

                                                                          After all two courses is just a snack.

                                                                          1. I do plan my meals around dessert. But I don't get out much these days without advance planning. I peruse online menus and chowhound ahead of time, so I generally know in advance when I really want a specific dessert. Some of my favourite casual places do have the dessert specials on chalkboard menus. I have even pre-ordered dessert at the beginning of my meal, when I know they have a habit of running out (and that guava cheescake was awesome).

                                                                            But this strategy did backfire on me recently. I ordered a light workday lunch (soup and chicken liver pate) because I was so excited about the dessert prospects. I was also very hungry, so I figured soup would come out quickly! Not so. Waited half an hour for that soup while the woman next to me finished hers and got her main; then the offered bread never came, then a further delay for our mains. By the time I would have ordered dessert I was late for work, furious, and still starving. And I can never go back there because I did not tip the server (she understood why and did apologize, but there was really no attempt to actually explain or rectify the situation). Total strategy fail on my part ;)

                                                                            Again, I don't get out much, but I generally find that if the first info I have on desserts comes at the end of a meal, they don't interest me much anyway: creme brulee, etc.