Blue Smoke Bake Shop
At Blue Smoke Bake Shop, the Banana Cream Pie is as good a slice as you could imagine. A crust of crumbly, buttery salted graham cracker, along with vanilla and walnuts, is piled high with fresh bananas and a full-bodied vanilla custard. Fresh whipped cream covers the surface, along with toasted, crushed walnuts. It's $7.95 a slice, not cheap, and definitely not big enough for two to share. But worth every penny? Oh yes.
Red Bean Butter Toast at Cha-An is substantial enough to count as a meal, so keep that in mind when you order. A three inch-tall cut of a remarkably pillowy soft bread is housemade and slightly sweet; it's given a light toast in the oven and topped with mashed and then whipped tsubushian, sweetened red bean paste. A mountain of whipped cream is delivered in nearly double the portion of the tsubushian. How to eat? Cut the loaf into bite-sized cubes and dab on a bit of both the tsubushian and cream.
Over at Buvette in the West Village, Chocolate Mousse is accompanied by a tower of fresh, thick whipped cream, almost in equal proportion to the mousse. The mousse is a tad fluffy, but decidedly smooth and impossibly decadent. For those who like their desserts less sweet, put this on your list; it's among the finer chocolate mousses in the city, barely sweetened, allowing the bittersweet chocolate to take center stage with no interruptions.
Smith & Mills
Set in an old Tribeca carriage house, Smith & Mills delivers an excellent Bread Pudding. It's made with torn brioche and served warm, every bite studded with soft and ripe banana chunks. The caramel sauce is loose and lush, and though it may not have that salty-sweet wonder or depth of a more sophisticated caramel sauce, a smattering of toasted pine nuts and fresh whipped cream puts all worries aside.
The Huckleberry-Mascarpone Gelato is essentially straight-up cream in the form of gelato. You'll know it's mascarpone upon the first spoonful, lush and buttery. Like all Otto's gelati, the flavors are clear, bold without being overly aggressive. Huckleberry makes appearances with purple-red swirls throughout the gelato, a splash of color across white. Pick a scoop with mainly huckleberry and you'll find it slightly tart with a balanced sweetness.