Here's the Highlight of Picholine's Dessert Tasting Menu

Sugar Rush

Your daily dose of something sweet.

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[Photographs: Niko Triantafillou]

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.

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Kleinhandler does desserts at Picholine, and his appearance in last week's dessert feature in the Times served as good reminder to pay a visit to see what he could do in a full restaurant setting.

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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.

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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.

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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.