Long-time readers of this dessert blog will know that we have moaned on quite a few previous occasions that many a restaurant in New York, overwhelmingly fail…and fail tremendously… at executing memorable dessert epilogues to an otherwise wonderful meal. An uninspired plate of cookies, a stale slice of cake or a careless plop of ice cream does not constitute a proper dessert in a restaurant. It’s a tragedy that leaves these Dessert Correspondents especially, in a bamboozled state. Why the anti-climax?! 😦 As we rapidly lurch into a rather warm autumn season, we use this volume of “NYC’s Best Restaurant Desserts” to remember two of the most beautiful alfresco dining experiences we had during the late summer.
- Dessert destination: Temple Court on Ten, Financial District, Manhattan.
- Budget: $$$$.
- Short and sweet story: Although we generally avoid the Financial District in our leisure time as we work in the area, it is a district with no shortage of fabulous restaurants, offering some of the best desserts in the city: e.g., Crown Shy, Manhatta, Augustine, The Fulton, Delmonico’s. One of our favourite FiDi spots is the Beekman Hotel. Wrought in Art Deco-era architectural magnificence, this hotel holds a special place in our hearts because it opened the same year we arrived in NYC. You won’t find another hotel with such a beguiling array of antique furnishings, a breathtaking nine-storey glass atrium, and a bar room that feels like a time capsule of the gilded 1920-1930s decades. The piece-de-resistance is the restaurant on the top floor terrace, without a doubt, the most beautiful restaurant we have had the privilege of visiting in NYC. Dining at Temple Court on Ten is an ethereal dream-like experience: the space twinkles with fairy lights intermingled amongst the verdant cascades of wisteria, the staff seamlessly glide between the well-spaced tables, and the prix fixe 3-course menu (approx $150 pp after tax/tip) is elegantly and consistently executed, traditional European fare with touches of modernity. During our visit, there were two different desserts at the epilogue, one being a goblet of somewhat experimental corn mousse, and the other being a “S’mores” dessert. The latter featured four layers of cinnamon-infused crackers sandwiching luscious layers of molten dark chocolate. A playful DIY marshmallow roasting game, it makes for a rather memorable end to an anniversary dinner when the couple is given a chance to show each other who is better at torching marshmallows 😛
- Dessert destination: Gabriel Kreuther, Midtown East, Manhattan.
- Budget: $$$$.
- Short and sweet story: Our second favourite park in NYC, after Central Park, is Bryant Park. Adjacent to the stunning New York Public Library, we always stop by to rest our feet after a day of shopping along 5th Avenue. During the winter months, it becomes the site of our favourite NYC Christmas Market. Diametrically across from Bryant Park, at one side you have the first Lady M patisserie we ever visited, and at the other, what used to be the fanciest chocolatier in the city (now sadly shuttered) and its parent 2-Michelin-starred restaurant. That restaurant is Gabriel Kreuther, and it is all sumptuous luxury. It’s stunning inside and out. Shielded from the traffic and with pendant light drops, its white table-clothed outdoor dining area exudes a similar level of refined sophistication and quiet ambience as the indoor dining area. Desserts are a highlight. The mainstay of the dessert menu is the silky “Chocolate Caramel Flan” ($22), surrounded by a moat of cocoa nib feuilletine and accessorized with a quenelle of milk sorbet. Look out for the return of the seasonal “Strawberry Mille Feuille” ($22) in a deconstructed style, sculptural twigs orbiting a nest of yuzu sorbet and strawberries.