Those who lunch in Midtown East probably already know about Dishes' excellent food. Their high-end, by-the-pound hot and cold salad bar has been drawing cronut-like lines for years at lunch time. And though you will pay top dollar at Dishes, nearly everything is good, and their desserts are no exception.
Their refrigerated case offers a few interesting options that stand out, particularly, compared to other Midtown options. The Belgian Chocolate Pudding ($2.75) is the opposite of most chocolate puddings—it's heavy in dark chocolate flavor and light on gelatin. Similarly, the "Banana-nilla" Pudding ($2.75) has a great banana and real vanilla flavor.
However, my favorite non-bakery Dishes dessert is their Mango Coconut Tapioca Pudding ($2.75). This is a thin, not too sweet, tapioca pudding with a loose texture and beautiful, delicate flavors. Coconut meat is blended into the base to keep the texture smooth, but a small amount of ripe mango, cut into tiny pieces, lend texture as well as fruity flavor. The texture of the mango is similar to the tapioca pearls—which are delicate as can be and melt in your mouth.
The very small serving size can be viewed either as a negative (expensive), or a positive (a light dessert that you can enjoy with lunch).
Although Dishes sells croissants by Balthazar in the morning, they also have their own excellent in-house baker who keeps up with the food trends. Try their quinoa blueberry muffin—it's incredibly moist.