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[Photo: Grace Kang]

Lingering over sweet clams on the half shell and a cold Saranac, I settled into the warm buzz of the bar. Maybe it was the crinkle of aluminum foil or a flash of honey brown in the corner of my eye that tipped me off, but suddenly there it was—Wife's Whiskey Cake.

You smell it first--a sweet, smoky whiff of whiskey floating above the slice. Depending on what's around the bar, you'll taste Jameson or maybe Jim Beam, baked into a delicate cake that spends a day in an aluminum foil tomb, marinating in its glaze.

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Husband and wife team Shane Covey and Jennifer Gavin opened Upstate a little over a month ago, and have received a warm welcome from the neighborhood for their offering of craft beers, fresh seafood, and a cheery atmosphere. Working from a family recipe, Jennifer usually makes six cakes every week, enough to surprise about 150 guests. Although not technically on the menu, it's often generously offered after a meal—a whiskey sponge to top off the beer belly.

So here's how it goes: order a craft beer and some fresh oysters or clams; endear yourself to the man behind the bar; and you just may find yourself with a lovely sliver of Wife's Whiskey Cake in front of you.

Upstate

95 First Avenue, NY 10003 (map)
917-408-3395
upstatenyc.com

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