Let’s face it: No matter whether you’re stuffed or trying to adhere to a diet, it doesn’t take much arm-twisting to convince you to order dessert. But sometimes, a super-sweet treat after a decadent dinner is more than our stomachs can handle.
That’s why we’re excited to see more and more savory ingredients popping up on restaurant dessert menus, and we’re not talking about your average Apple Pie with cheddar cheese or cream cheese-frosted Carrot Cake. From the Beet Red Velvet Cake at Dovetail to the Chorizo Ice Cream at Oddfellows, these unique dishes are sure to satisfy even the most diehard sweet tooth!
OddFellows Ice Cream
If you’d rather skip the big meal and head straight to dessert, you’d be wise to pilgrimage to Williamsburg’s hot, new ice cream parlor with flavors dreamed up the eccentric Sam Mason. Or, in this case, make that a not-so-sweet craving (they are called Oddfellows after all). Forget about chocolate, strawberry and vanilla… the best-selling flavors here include Chorizo Caramel Swirl, Tobacco Leaf Smoked Chili Huckleberry, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Beet Pistachio Honey Goat Cheese and Sesame Kumquat Pumpernickel. Would you rather go dairy-free? Sorbets are every bit as inventive; think Celery, Strawberry Tomato or Grapefruit Jalapeno.
That stalwart dessert favorite, Red Velvet Cake, generally gets its striking hue from liberal doses of artificial food coloring. So leave it to the always elegant Dovetail, well known for its expertise with vegetables, to dye theirs with the all-natural ruby juices of baby sugar beets. Pastry chef Michal Shelkowitz cuts the sweetness of the often cloying cake even further with layers of Sour Cream Frosting, Candy Cane Beet Chips, tart drops of Beet Puree, and a rosy Strawberry Ice Cream quenelle.
Although owners Andrew Carmellini, Josh Pickard and Luke Ostrom describe The Dutch as an “American joint that serves nice food, wine and spirits,” an always buzzing and packed room attests to the fact that it’s a whole lot more than your average neighborhood spot. We love their sexy spins on global comfort foods, like Barrio Tripe with Beer, Steak Tartare with Grilled Scallion and Paprika Chips, Cajun Andouille Sausage with Shrimp and Dirty Rice, and (in a nod to that humble, homey favorite, zucchini bread), Zucchini Donuts served with Amaro Ice Cream, Rosemary Caramel and Salted Pine Nuts. Yum!
Michael White’s rustic, Soho Italian has been satisfying diners with old-world, comfort cooking from the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy. You’ll find traditional dishes, like Sangiovese Braised Short Ribs and Polenta al Forno, and classic desserts, like Tiramisu, Olive Oil Cake and homemade Gelati. But we’re most intrigues by the Panna Cotta, uniquely infused with woodsy Rosemary, and served with a Caramel Apple Spuma (a particularly airy type of sherbet), Wine Poached Apple and moist Sponge Cake. Perfecto!
Are you a “breakfast for dinner” kind of person? Well, the Upper West Side’s favorite farm-to-table eatery, Telepan, is currently serving breakfast for dessert (and no, we don’t mean pancakes and waffles). Chef and owner Bill Telepan pairs Poached Peaches and Almond Ice Cream with Toasted Almond Farina Fritters, made out of the granular, good-for-you breakfast cereal. We can’t wait to see if he has any other interesting plans for wheat germ at Telepan Local, the tapas-style restaurant he’s opening in Tribeca later this fall.
The Good Fork
Known for East meets West dishes, like Roasted Chicken with Chinese Black Bean Butter Sauce and “Steak and Eggs” Korean-Style with Kimchee Fried Rice, The Good Fork is not one to shy away from unexpected flavor combinations. The spunky Red Hook restaurant will keep you on your toes well into dessert, with spicy scoops of Dulce de Leche and Pasilla Pepper Ice Cream or slices of Double Chocolate Cake, strewn with Black Sesame Granola and drizzled with Chili Caramel.
The real draw at this hip East Village eatery is Danish chef, Mads Refsland, who helped pioneer the art of forager cuisine alongside Rene Redzepi at the famed Copenhagen eatery, Noma. Along with a wave of New Nordic acolytes like Atera’s Matthew Lightner, Aska’s Frederik Berselius and Luksus’s Daniel Burns, Refsland has taught New Yorkers to appreciate the singular pleasure of ingredients, like kelp, green chickpeas, and hay-baked celery root. And desserts aren’t any less intriguing… who needs Chocolate Cake when you can have Beer and Bread Porridge with Salted Caramel Ice Cream, or the “Oak and Pine,” a combination of Hazelnut Crème, Almond Macaroons and Blue Spruce?Read More
At Jean-Georges’ stylish eatery inspired by South East Asian street food, you can easily transport yourself from the Meatpacking District to an exotic land in a matter of bites. Start with an appropriately spicy progression of dishes served family-style, like Charred Chili-Rubbed Beef Skewers with Thai Basil Dipping Sauce, Nonya Seafood Laksa and Pork Vindaloo, followed by a sultry Miso Caramel Pudding with Black Sesame and Pomegranate (luckily, you’re not expected to share dessert!)