Smith & Wollensky
At Smith & Wollensky, coconut cake is served by the slab with vanilla ice cream. It's gorgeous to look at and even better to eat. Three thick layers of cake are soaked in coconut milk with simultaneously silky and fluffy cream, with ribbons of coconut to finish. The cake crumb is dense, but moist and saturated with coconut. I'm usually not a frosting person, but could eat bowls of this; it's comes closer to thickly whipped cream with coconut than traditional frosting.
Sundaes & Cones
Sundaes & Cones is best known for Asian ice cream flavors, and for good reason. But the next time you pay them a visit, give Toasted Coconut Ice Cream a chance. It's one of my favorite, simple, no-fuss versions of coconut ice cream in the city, made rich with plenty of coconut milk and cream. Each densely packed, buttery scoop is flecked with an abundance of toasted and crushed coconut flecks, an addictive textural contrast which heightens the intensity of coconut flavor.
At Balthazar, a Coconut Cake slice boasts a tender and loose crumb, three layers bound with a classic pastry cream. It's a dense and elegant cake, one with a smooth finish of buttercream and coconut. The coconut flakes that cover the exterior are not tiny, sweetened pre-packaged flakes, but large shards, meaty and toasted the lightest shade of brown.
Pure Thai Shophouse
Mango and sticky rice cooked in coconut milk is a popular Thai dessert often found on the daily dessert board (they serve one type of dessert each day) at Pure Thai Shophouse. But here they make a signature mark on this dessert with a layer of tiny cooked tapioca pearls tucked in the warm bed of coconut sticky rice; it's served with half a ripe and always sweet mango. It's a subtle but small addition that makes it all the more memorable.
Spot Dessert Bar
Flourless chocolate cake from Spot Dessert Bar comes with a white shower of coconut snow, a clean (though plenty bold) flavor concoction made from a seemingly simple base of coconut milk and water. The cake is warm and heady with a slightly crisp crust, forkfuls of moist dark chocolate and zesty cuts of passionfruit jelly—a balance of rich and light. And as all desserts here must be appealing to the eyes as much as the tastebuds, it's finish with a tumble of fresh strawberries and crunchy chocolate pearls.