Where dreams of Manhattan are ensconced in accessible luxury.
Whether that be from Empire State or Rockefeller, by helicopter or by plane, in reality or in your dreams, these Dessert Correspondents are of the view that you haven’t really “seen” New York until you see it from above. If you would like to pair view and food together, we would recommend ascending 60 floors up and doing so at the recently-opened Manhatta. Swallowing up an entire floor, Manhatta commands, and demands, your attention from the moment of entrance to that of exit – from the panoramic vistas of the city that greets you, to the personable service that frames the experience, and to the prix fixe menu of mainstream French-accented or otherwise pan-European fare, with just a touch of creativity. Take our tip and plan your visit for a weekend late lunch, a slice of time where you can enjoy both the bright blue and silver daylight glinting off Manhattan’s and Brooklyn’s skyscrapers and also later, the lurid copper hues of a sun setting over Staten Island and the Statue of Liberty.
On our visit, a wonderful three-course meal was bookended by our sampling of all four desserts on offer at the time. The “Warm Date Cake” was our favourite dessert at Manhatta. Textbook-perfect in texture and taste, this exuberantly luscious round cake sitting in a shallow pool of toffee sauce was served warm. Another classical dessert was the “Chocolate Tart” – where bubbly dollops of creme fraîche embedded with beads of yuzu caramel uplifted a wedge of otherwise very dark chocolate.
The other two desserts at Manhatta were more contemporary in conceptualization and presentation. The “Creme Brulee” did not arrive in its traditional ramekin pot, but rather as a sunset yellow cube imparting a flan-like texture. Embellished with a stalactite formation of roasted apples and drizzled with cider caramel, it was a spoonful of delightful creaminess, albeit slightly detracted by the lack of a creme-brulee’s distinguishing sugar surface, which we always look forward to cracking. The “Espresso Cake” – deconstructed – comprised the building blocks of said dessert, swimming in a pool of what looked like detergent liquid, but which was in fact, the rather curious curiosity of vanilla milk ice.
In a city over-saturated with fabulous cheap eats and food trucks on one hand, and Michelin-starred eye-wateringly-expensive restaurants on another, Manhatta embodies the rarest form of accessible luxury. It is a gem of a restaurant. And with the trifecta that these Dessert Correspondents always look out for — welcoming service, memorable ambience and exquisite desserts — this is where dreams of Manhattan converge.
Dessert adventure checklist
- ☑ Dessert destination: Manhatta, 28 Liberty Street, 60th Floor, Financial District, Manhattan, New York.
- ☑ Budget: $$$ (USD $68 pp for lunch or $78 pp for dinner, plus tax. Service/tip included).
- ☑ Sweet irresistibles: Restaurant dessert.
- ☑ Must-eat: The Warm Date Cake.
- ☑ The short and sweet story:Where dreams of Manhattan are ensconced in accessible luxury.