It's often the case that a menu's description leaves you unprepared for what a dish will look or taste like. That's certainly the case with Gramercy Tavern's Lemon Sherbet with Poppy Seed and Ricotta by Executive Pastry Chef Miro Uskokovic ($12).
The name, as specific as it is, doesn't reveal much. I mean, sherbet? Isn't that what your grandmother served you from a plastic tub instead of the ice cream you really wanted? Trust me, this is better, and a complex dessert worthy of its fine dining setting.
The sherbet is made with baboon lemons (yes, they're real) from a small citrus farm in Florida specializing in heirloom varieties, that have a flavor somewhere in between fresh lemon and bergamot. Surrounding the sherbet is a special housemade ricotta, and on top of that is a generous layer of fluffy sabayon cream.
The ricotta is made from Battenkill Farms cream and 5 Acres Milk that's been infused with vanilla. The contrast between the fragrant and lemony sherbet and creamy dairy of the ricotta is what makes the dessert so special—it's like the creamsicle of your youth upgraded with four-star ingredients. The sabayon cream also uses zest from the baboon lemons, making it the perfect transitional component with flavor elements from both the sherbet and the ricotta.
Dense, low-sweetness poppy seed cake cubes offer some texture without soaking up moisture from the sherbet or cream. Toasted hazelnuts add a level of crunch.
The dessert is available with baboon lemon sherbet for at least the next two weeks. Don't miss it.