I was turned on to pastry chef Daniel Kleinhandler's desserts at a food event last year, where he was serving pea-flavored macarons. Savory macarons are hard to pull off, but his were a hit, so I took note to try more of his work soon.
Picholine's dessert tasting ($32) includes three different plated desserts and an amuse. All three dishes will be of interest to the serious dessert eater, but I found the Tropical Fruit Soup to be the most unique and thoughtful, and if you pay attention, you can treat it as a road map to the chef's thought process.
Usually the liquid base of a dessert soup overwhelms its solid components. Here, Kleinhandler counterbalances sweet mango with pineapple chunks that have been compressed and soaked with rum and makrud lime for a touch of bitterness. Also, a diplomat cream kiss made from unsweetened passion fruit brings some lip-puckering tartness to the soup. By themselves, these components would be too extreme to enjoy. Together, they make for a delicious symbiosis.
More toned-down components include a small scoop of coconut rice pudding and some thin mango and passion fruit ribbons. The chunks of pineapple feature sugar torched tops like a creme brûlée.
Served solo, this dessert would be almost too light, but in the context of a three-course tasting bookended by two heavier dishes, it's the perfect thing.
The dessert tasting is available in both the restaurant's bar and lounge.
About the author: Native New Yorker Niko Triantafillou is the founder of DessertBuzz.com his photographs of desserts and pastry chefs have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post and Dessert Professional Magazine. He is an unabashed foodie nerdling. Follow him on Twitter at @DessertBuzz.