Dessert for dinner? Yes, really! The restaurants listed below bring dessert to the fore, allowing you to comfortably and confidently replace your typical “meat and threes” with cheesecake, cookies, and/or cake. Your mom and your dentist might not approve, but no matter. By Jessica Allen.
529 Broome Street
New York, NY 10013
Another name for the drink/dessert served at Black Tap could be “the milkshake that broke Instagram.” One of the most photographed treats of the past few years, these shakes go beyond the beyond. The so-called crazy shakes are piled high with ingredient after ingredient: the Sweet n’ Salty includes a peanut butter milkshake served in a chocolate-frosted glass, topped with pretzel rods, chocolate gems, peanut butter cups, whipped cream, a chocolate-covered pretzel, and chocolate drizzle. All your calories for the week, and then some — easily.
ChikaLicious Dessert Bar
203 East 10th Street
New York, NY 10003
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One of the pleasures of eating at ChikaLicious, in the East Village, is watching chef/owner Chika Tillman carefully prepare each sweet bite, while her husband, co-owner, and general manager Don takes orders, expedites, and chats up guests. You’ll definitely want to make a reservation — the 20-seat space fills up fast, with diners clamoring for the three-course, dessert-focused prix fixe. Options change with the seasons, but standouts include a warm chocolate tart served with pink peppercorn ice cream, and sweet potato crème brûlée. For just a few extra dollars, you can get wine pairings too.
175 Kent Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11249
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OddFellows specializes in made-from-scratch, small-batch ice cream scoops in such “odd” flavors as olive oil, manchego pineapple thyme, and rooibos. Enter the ice creamery’s “odd pockets,” like an ice cream sandwich but better. We’re talking about ice cream and toppings stuffed into a brioche bun, then warmed on a panini press. Hot and cold! Sweet and savory! You can DIY, or pick one of the house-made offerings like brown butter sage ice cream, honey, and spicy almonds, or smoked marshmallow ice cream, graham cracker “soil,” marshmallow sauce, and chocolate cookies.
Spot Dessert Bar
13 St Marks Place
New York, NY 10003
Spot Dessert Bar serves “seasonal dessert tapas.” In practice, this East Village restaurant makes desserts that sit squarely at the intersection of Asia, America, and Europe. So, for example, you might order the kabocha brulee cake, which features caramelized pumpkin cake (served warm), topped with a scoop of condensed milk ice cream and sprinkled with cookie crumbs, or yuzu eskimo, a frozen Japanese citrus cream bar sliced alongside strawberries, Oreo crumbs, and chocolate ganache. In other words, the treats on offer will expand your mind and your waistline.
62 Carmine Street
New York, NY 10014
Talk about your ultimate combos: this West Village dessert bar pairs cupcakes and other baked goods with alcohol. It’s a decidedly decadent, decidedly adult establishment, equal parts “dessert” and “bar.” Here’s a small sampling of what’s in store at Sweet Revenge: a Mayan chocolate cupcake paired with ChocoVine (a red wine from Holland) or Kopparberg pear cider; a carrot cupcake with a vanilla bellini or glass of Kwak (a beer from Belgium); a slice of pecan coffee cake paired with Petalo Moscato Spumante; and a hefty wedge of berries and cream cheesecake paired with Weihenstephaner Hefe Weiss (German beer.)
U.P. at Dominique Ansel Kitchen
137 Seventh Avenue South
New York, NY 10014
It’s difficult to overstate the importance of Dominique Ansel to the city’s sweet scene. As the inventor of the Cronut a few years ago, the incredibly talented chef rose to prominence, with the huge, huge lines at his eponymous bakery to prove it. These days, in addition to putting out super creative desserts, he and his team are running an “after-hours dessert-only experience,” a chance “to be reminded of all the potential for beauty and drama in desserts,” as the New York Times enthused—for those lucky enough to snag a reservation, that is. U.P. stands for “unlimited possibilities,” and that’s truly what you’re in for.
Jessica Allen is a New York-based writer.