Dessert at Meatpacking District's Manon Surprisingly Upscale
Manon's pastry chef Beth Bosmeny left three-Michelin starred Eleven Madison Park and the tutelage of James Beard award-winning executive pastry chef Angela Pinkerton, for the "glitzy," multi-floor Meatpacking District restaurant.
On first glance, it would seem an odd choice. However, they seem to have given her freedom to create some forward-thinking desserts. One such example is a Quark Cheesecake ($11) made with a fresh, drained cow milk cheese formed from warm, sour milk.
Though Bosemy refers to the dish as a "cheesecake," the cake never sees the inside of an oven. Instead, the batter is cooked on a stovetop via a double boiler until it thickens, after which it's loaded into a pastry bag and piped onto a plate. The quark, when combined with some vanilla bean, standard cream cheese, and egg, makes an immensely tangy and flavorful cheesecake with a texture similar to light mousse or ganache.
The artfully piped tube of cheesecake makes up less than half the dessert by volume. The largest component is actually a selection of perfectly ripe raspberries, black berries, strawberries and blueberries. A highly tart (and delicious) lime sherbet—that will make your lips pucker—balances both the sweet and creaminess of the cheese. The harmony of these flavors reminds me of a good Key lime pie.
Two light and airy cherry hibiscus madeleines provide a more comforting element, but a small pool of caramel-juniper-flavored powder reminds you that this is still a modern dessert.
Manon may be flashy and get a lot of press for their cocktail menu, but clearly they wanted to have first-rate, fine dining-style desserts, and they brought in the talent to make that happen.