Gallery: Desserts à la Mode

Cha-An
Cha-An

Cha An's precise and neatly composed Zenzai ($8.50) starts with chilled matcha soup, bright and slightly sweetened, with a trio of shiratama at the base, little orbs of chewy mochi balls. Above that goes mild, housemade sake ice cream with azuki bean jelly cubes tucked beneath the ice cream. A balance of every texture is presented in this dish, from the sticky chew of mochi to the final crown of a crunchy black sesame tuile, the cookie caramelized just enough to offer sweet smoky notes.

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15 East
15 East

Dessert is often overlooked at sushi restaurants, but not so at 15 East, right off Union Square. End a meal with the Rice Pudding Tempura ($10), two tiny mounds of rice pudding, gently battered and deep-fried. A warm crunch gives way to eggy pudding with a high rice-to-custard ratio. Hot and cold, crisp and soft. The shower of powdered sugar may not be necessary, but you'll be quite pleased with a bold sake kasu ice cream.

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Veritas
Veritas

At Veritas, pastry chef Emily Wallendjack reinvents the Dark & Stormy cocktail in the form of a killer sticky toffee pudding. Here the steamed pudding, buttery tender and fragrant, meets a rum-laced toffee sauce. A quenelle of spicy ginger-lime ice cream lightens the affair, creamy and full-bodied. Grated lime zest tops the whole plate before the dessert is presented; the resulting scent is borderline intoxicating. If you're a fan of Emily's ice cream, don't miss her seasonal selection of ice creams and sorbet—a taste of six flavors for $10 is the way to go.

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20101110primaryLocandaVerdeAlmondSemifreddoFig.jpg
20101110primaryLocandaVerdeAlmondSemifreddoFig.jpg
Locanda Verde
Locanda Verde

Karen DeMasco's Toasted Almond Semifreddo ($10) is the kind of dessert you crave in the late afternoon with a big mug of tea on the side. Only a tad sweet, with an undeniably creamy texture, the semifreddo base is dotted with bits of salt-kissed almond crumbs for the occasional nutty crunch. In the fall, the semifreddo was paired with red wine poached figs, halved and perched against the semifreddo base and a fresh fig sorbetto; but go now and you'll be greeted with a tangy, bright grapefruit mandarin sorbetto. Either way, you can't go wrong.

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Spot Dessert Bar
Spot Dessert Bar

Pichet Ong's Chocolate Marquise ($9) from Spot Dessert Bar is a three-part affair. There's the chocolate marquise itself, a glitter-dusted rectangle, made from a wealth of dark chocolate, heavy cream, and egg yolks. Alternate the ganache-like bites with spoonfuls of Alfonso mango tapioca, a fruity contrast. And to finish, Yakult ice cream, my favorite part of the dessert. Yakult is a Japanese pro-biotic drink, milky in texture with a taste not unlike yogurt. A popular drink in Asia, it's less common in NYC and particularly exciting to discover in the form of ice cream. The result is a creamy, tangy concoction, a light pairing to the heavier elements of the plate.

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