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Dessert Destinations (Especially for Chocolate Raspberry desserts)

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DolceStilNovo Sep 10, 2012 01:45 PM

Hi everyone - I am a dessert fanatic dating a dessert fanatic, and we are trying to compile a definitive list of outstanding dessert places in downtown DC. I have done a lot of reading of old threads (I think I scanned or read almost every thread going back into 2011 in doing my DC restaurants research), and my intel on desserts came back without many clear top choices. This thread had a good amount of information compared to most, but was still lacking for my purposes: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/775016

We are looking for places that are willing to serve JUST DESSERT, either post dinner, throughout the day, etc. Bakeries, pastry shops, and chocolate boutiques are great, and I would LOVE to hear about your favorite places, why you recommend them (even down to the "must order" items at those places), but what I am envisioning is ideally more along the lines of either (A) a Coco Sala (which is the one big item currently on my list) - a dessert-centric destination where there is a dessert menu that one can dine from without needing to order a savory meal, or (B) Something akin to the way many high level restaurants in NYC offer dessert menu tastings in a bar or salon area of the restaurant and allow people to come in without a reservation to order just from the dessert menu. I imagine that between all of the elite restaurants in DC that I have read so much about on these boards, there must be some that have particularly renowned pastry/dessert chefs, and I am hoping that some of those same places offer "dessert only" dining that I could take advantage of. I will be eating at many fine restaurants in DC (I will have another thread asking for advice on a few tough choices on my dining itinerary), but if the desserts at certain places are not quite as good as the main dining menu, we would very much enjoy to know of a superior place to get dessert and head there.

In the end, we are hoping this list will: (1) Give us a good list of places to go (mostly after or instead of dinner) for great desserts, and (2) Give us a sense for which DC restaurants offer particularly exceptional desserts and which ones are just good or not as good, and (3) Give us a list of a few outstanding individual dishes )if such as thing is possible with rotating menus and such). This is a pretty ambitious undertaking, so each individual recommendation will be valuable!

And I will add one special request: I will be celebrating my girlfriend's birthday in a few weeks, and her absolute favorite dessert flavors are RASPBERRY AND CHOCOLATE. If anyone knows of a particularly divine dessert somewhere in the city that pairs these two flavors, I would tremendously appreciate hearing about it! She also loves the combination of chocolate and caramel and great ice cream/gelato, but those are decidedly second to raspberry and chocolate.

Thank you in advance to everyone who contributes! I'm looking forward to posting my own thoughts on the various desserts I eat once I start dining in DC this coming weekend!

  1. d
    DolceStilNovo Sep 14, 2012 09:01 AM

    Went to dinner at rasika last night, and seeing as we had a late reservation and it was a Thursday night, we couldn't make it to coco sala before it closed at 10. Had the date sticky toffee pudding at rasika, which was simple and good (nice texture and moisture, would've liked a fruitier flavor although the toffee flavor was quite good. Accompanying berry sauce didn't add as much to the experience as I expected), but not at all memorably so. Also stopped at pitango since it was nearby and I love my desserts. I had the bacio flavor and the cinammon. While good, I felt like the flavor profiles were lacking some oomph compared to their native Italian counterparts. The bacio certainly tasted like hazelnut chocolate, but the nuttiness and chocolate flavors weren't powerful enough to leave you with a great after taste - the flavor at pitango is more on the front end and then becomes generally sweet, and although slightly watery isn't the right way to put it, that's almost what I wanted to say. That being said, I am being highly critical because it is a dessert type I know well - it is in my opinion a good option in dc, and I would go back - I just wouldn't go out of my way to do so, and I don't see myself having a pitango gelato craving. But it was great to end my night with a bit of decent gelato, so thanks everyone! Tonight I'll be doing dessert at cityzen and will have more to report.

    1. j
      Jeserf Sep 12, 2012 12:36 PM

      my favorite desserts in DC are at Birch and Barley, CoCo Sala, and Baked and Wired (I know some here don't enjoy, but I love everything I've had from there).

      1. e
        Elyssa Sep 12, 2012 06:09 AM

        Some places to check out: Coco Sala, Mintwood Place (get the brownie ice cream sundae and a cocktail!), Kramerbooks and Afterwards (I'm pretty sure they have a raspberry/chocolate cake...but double check), and Central.

        1. m
          Milocat1 Sep 11, 2012 08:50 AM

          Kafe Leopold in Georgetown has nice pastries. The selection varies so you would need to call ahead. There is a Patisserie Poupon in Georgetown as well, up on Wisconsin Ave.

          Balducci's has a Chocolate Dolly Sin cake (think that is the name) that is the best I have eaten. Dense moist cake with killer frosting. I had it with raspberries earlier in the summer and it was fabulous. Not sure if you can get raspberries now....

          1. a
            armybaker Sep 11, 2012 06:34 AM

            Coco Sala is fantastic for dessert. They do a great job. I can't say I know of a place that stands out for the raspberry/chocolate combo...other than PF Chang's Great Wall of Chocolate. I am a dessert snob, but I adore the Great Wall of Chocolate. It has a raspberry sauce and a pile of fresh berries.

            I'm a Baltimore babe, so my dessert choices are centered around Baltimore. DC has a few places that are also in Baltimore that are quite delicious, Patisserie Poupon comes to mind. Fantastic French pastisserie goods. Pitango Gelato is also wonderful. They have some great gelato flavors and a little goes a long way.

            I've heard good things about the chocolate bar at Michel Richard's Citronelle and Central

            4 Replies
            1. re: armybaker
              m
              mselectra Sep 12, 2012 11:13 AM

              For gelato in DC, I would recommend Dolcezza rather than Pitango. Pitango is good, but Dolcezza is something else. I mean if you can just go to one place, perhaps as part of the birthday treat.

              1. re: mselectra
                j
                Jeserf Sep 12, 2012 12:36 PM

                Agree - Dolcezza is far superior to Pitango

              2. re: armybaker
                d
                DolceStilNovo Sep 12, 2012 09:54 PM

                Glad to hear so many great things about Dolcezza - I will do my best to give it a try this weekend. Being Italian and having had far more than my fair share of gelato in Rome, Florence, and Bologna, I am very eager to experience it.

                1. re: DolceStilNovo
                  m
                  mselectra Sep 13, 2012 02:29 PM

                  It's Argentinean style gelato... Might not transport you back to Italy, but it's great.

              3. b
                braver Sep 10, 2012 08:42 PM

                Sou'wester and Cityzen have great desserts; I think the latter has a dessert tasting menu. I've had just drinks and dessert at Tabard Inn and it's been really good. I've thought about trying that at Adour but haven't yet.

                3 Replies
                1. re: braver
                  d
                  DolceStilNovo Sep 12, 2012 09:51 PM

                  Very glad to hear that CityZen has excellent desserts - I will be there Friday night and will report back (as I will also do after going to Tabard Inn a few weeks from now)!

                  1. re: DolceStilNovo
                    h
                    hamster Sep 13, 2012 10:53 AM

                    i really don't get the enthusiasm about the Tabard inn. Have gone twice for work dinners in the last year, and I thought the food was utterly mediocre and some dishes were actually bad. For the prices they charge, I think it's a travesty. I also find the atmosphere seriously cheezy, but I guess it's supposed to be kitschy? Definitely not my cup of tea.

                    1. re: hamster
                      d
                      DolceStilNovo Sep 13, 2012 11:10 AM

                      I have not heard much about tabard inn for dinner - I first heard of it as a brunch destination, which is how I intend to experience it. Any chance there is a big difference in their ability to prepare brunch food v. Dinner? And as far as ambiance goes, we will see if it runs to my tastes but I chose it with my gf in mind - the vibe seemed to strike my as a bit historic feeling, kind of quaint, maybe a bit charming - is that just the image they sell and is the actually feel of the place far less enjoyablein your experienc?e

                2. ipsedixit Sep 10, 2012 03:33 PM

                  Tosca will put together a dessert tasting menu if you give them advance notice.

                  http://www.toscadc.com/index.shtml

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