Very special dessert date nights at what must be one of NYC’s best-kept secrets.
The only thing we love more than dessert is… dessert in plural. Desserts. Multi-courses. We have had the opportunity, and certainly privilege, to have been able to sample dessert-only experiences across the world. And in NYC itself, dessert bars abound, ranging from casual to Michelin-starred, from $15 per person to $100 per person, from singular course to multi-course, from over-hyped to secret venues. Relatively under-the-radar at a corner spot in the Upper West Side, a stone’s throw from Central Park and the Lincoln Centre precinct, there is the Recolte Dessert Bar. Opened during the twilight hours from Wednesdays to Sundays only, the dessert tasting session at Recolte is a three-course affair for $23.
We have visited twice, and in the world of NYC where return visits are as extraordinary as winning the Broadway lottery for Hamilton, we would in fact, certainly return again. Changing seasonally, there are five desserts up for selection as the main course, of which we have sampled four. There is also a gourmet cheese course, but in our sweet-tooth-centric opinion, you visit a dessert bar for the desserts, and a fromagerie for its cheeses. On our first visit, the amuse bouche starter was an astonishingly delicious carrot sorbet, and on the second occasion, a creamy banana concoction. A trail of droplets led to the “Vacherin” centrepiece, beneath which laid flavours of rhubarb, blood orange, basil, and pistachio, and textural contrasts of smooth parfait, icy sorbet and crispy meringue. The “Leaves” was a play of the French “millefeuille” (thousand leaves, if we recollect our French correctly), re-imagined as a layered chocolate sculpture, and accompanied by an orb of caramel-laced ice cream. The lighter, fruitier option was enclosed within the “Verrine” glass itself, a stratified construction of berry, apricot, and mascarpone. The “Avellana” was a pill-shaped log of decadently-flavoured hazelnut gianduja with a hint of caramel, and enlivened by the twang of lemon and velvet of coconut. The last course comprised a tower of petit fours – circular pâte de fruits, petite friands, and the most exquisite Stroopwafel-like salted caramel bites.
It will always be a wonder to us why certain sweet boutiques attract wildfire crowds and reviewers like bulls stampeding towards a red flag during the Pamplona races, and yet other sweet boutiques will barely register a blip in the dessert landscape. Recolte the daytime bakery has been opened for almost two years now, and its evening dessert bar has been offering its more sophisticated, restaurant-style plated desserts since the beginning of this year. Yet, had it not been on the recommendation of a friend who resides in the Upper West Side, we would never have known about it. And that, would have been a great pity indeed! On both of our visits, the dessert bar has been frequented by a mere handful of quiet patrons (and hallelujah – finally – it is a dessert spot unlike many others in NYC that also understands that s-p-a-c-e between tables is most crucial to the experience!). The service staff have been incredibly welcoming on both of our visits, and well-versed on each element of the dessert creations. Together with the wonder of the contemporary artistry of the desserts themselves, the trifecta of a perfect dessert date night has been found. As much as we would love to keep Recolte our little NYC dessert secret, as your Dessert Correspondents, it is our raison d’etre to take you on our dessert adventures and to share the #dessertlove…. 🙂
Dessert adventure checklist
- ☑ Dessert destination: Recolte Dessert Bar, 300 Amsterdam Avenue, Upper West Side, Manhattan, New York, 10023.
- ☑ Budget: $$-$$$.
- ☑ Sweet irresistibles: Dessert degustation.
- ☑ Must-eat: All of the above. ;p
- ☑ The short and sweet story: Very special dessert date nights at what must be one of NYC’s best kept secrets.