I want to cheer up a good friend who has a major sweet-tooth. We'll be in Chicago for the Blues Fest weekend and I'd like to take her out for a decadent dessert. What's my best option - the dessert tasting at TRU? The chocolate bar at the Peninsula? Hot Chocolate? Of the three, I've only been to the last and it was good, but not good enough that I remember what we had a couple of years ago. We'll probably try to eat at the Girl and Goat early one night - Sat or Sunday - and then head for dessert later that night. I'd appreciate your suggestions.
I do not think Tru does their dessert tasting menu anymore; they switched menu formats earlier this year and no longer list it on their website. My favorite desserts in the city right now are at Moto (which actually has Tru's former pastry chef, Claire Crenshaw). Unfortunately Moto does not have a dessert only option though, so the only way to partake in the desserts are by doing the full tasting menu. Not sure if that is an option for you. The tasting menu concludes with three to four desserts.
I know this is an older thread but I called a few days ago to inquire about the dessert tasting after doing some research and coming up empty.
Tru still does the dessert tasting menu. I just made a reservation for a Thursday a few weeks from now. I decided to book it in the lounge in hopes it will be a little less stuffy, but the main room was available as well (jacket required, obviously). They were entirely flexible over the phone with times and food restrictions. Picked up on the second ring and the same person helped me from start to finish. Easy.
I had dinner at Tru labout 1 week ago (we got the 7 course menu plus an extra cheese course with epoisses). I loved the savory elements but the desserts...All I can say is I am so glad that we opted for the additional cheese course. The two desserts were absolutely visually stunning but the taste was much worse than "meh". It was a shameful waste of ingredients.. Fortunately the savory courses were excellent but since you are going for dessert just a word of warning. We received the "pistachio in nature" and "English peas in frost, strawberry and mint. If they are on the menu you might want to steer clear unless your stomach craves a lovely picture.
Of those three options, you might want to call TRU to see if they still do the dessert tasting; they might be willing to do so, especially if you're seated in the lounge, even though it's not on their website. It's worth the phone call, and you've got nothing to lose by asking.
I enjoy the Chocolate Bar at the Pen, too. It's not inexpensive (around $30-35, I believe). And I believe they've changed the hours so it starts at 9 pm (still Fridays/Saturdays). It's not that *everything* on it (of the 30-40 items) is wonderful; lots of things are just okay, and many others are just pretty good. But I always find at least a few things that I really like a lot.
Like you, I've been not all that impressed with Hot Chocolate.
Here's another suggestion that's worth looking into as well, since you're looking for an option for dessert following Girl & the Goat (whose desserts are dreadful IMHO). Four short blocks west of Girl & the Goat is La Sardine, an excellent French bistro, so it's an easy walk from dinner. Their dessert soufflés are terrific. If this sounds appealing to you, it might be worth a phone call to ask them if they mind doing a dessert-only seating (if so, I don't know whether they would take a reservation to do so, so that's another question you might ask). Also, they don't list desserts on their website menu, so you might also want to verify that they will have soufflés that particular night. (They've had them each of the several times I've dined there.)
One more possibility - if you might be interested in doing desserts with your friend during the day, rather than after dinner, I recommend Floriole. IMHO it's the best bakery in the city for pastries. They have café seating there too, so you can eat pastry there, or get them to go. They have some really great stuff - caneles (only bakery in the city that does, AFAIK), pot de crème, panna cotta, French macaroons, etc. They're not open in the evening, though. www.floriole.com Oh, and if you'd like to do a "dessert crawl", eating/buying desserts at more than one place, a few blocks west of Floriole is another of our best bakeries for dessert, Vanille Patisserie, also worth a visit. www.vanillepatisserie.com