Have you ever felt like skipping dinner and going straight to dessert? Good news: dessert-only restaurants are located around the country, offering sweet and decadent dinner menus, minus the dinner. At these designated dessert restaurants, it is not only possible, but required, to go straight for the sweets.
Don Tillman, owner of New York’s first dessert restaurantChikaLicious Dessert Bar, says the idea of opening a dessert-only restaurant started with the question of "what if?"
"I found myself asking, what if you could get a four-star-restaurant-quality dessert without having to endure the expense of the requisite meal first?" Tillman said.
ChikaLicious was the first designated dessert restaurant to open in New York, in 2003, but in other cities, dessert restaurants have been around much longer: Boston’s Finale opened its doors for the city’s sweet lovers in 1998.
Just like regular restaurants, these dessert restaurants all have unique menus, styles, and signature dishes. At Swoon Dessert Bar in San Diego, Calif., the menu revolves around creative combinations of seasonal, locally sourced ingredients, and at The Solstice in Chicago, candy-flavored martinis such as Peanut Butter Cup and Banana Foster add an element of extra sweetness to the indulgent menu. And to make your dining experience that much sweeter, most of the spots on this list also offer wine, beer, and coffee to go with their menu options.
ChikaLicious' Tillman said it best: "No matter the fad diet, people will always require their sweets."
1. Finale, Boston
Boston’s "desserterie," Finale has been open since 1998, and kept their most popular item, "Molten Chocolate," on the menu ever since. This rich signature dish is a baked-to-order warm chocolate cake with a soft center, served with coffee gelato, milk chocolate-covered almonds and Valrhona chocolate sauce. For those who can’t decide on just one dish, the dessert sampler plate gives it all: Crème Brûlée, Lemon Roulade, Manjari Mousse, Pumpkin Cheesecake, Boston Cream, Whoopie Pies, Apple Cranberry Tart, and Nougat Glacé.
2. ChikaLicious Dessert Bar, New York City
This intimate, 20-seat eatery is built around an open kitchen, allowing the customers to watch the chef prepare and plate their individual desserts. ChikaLicious' three-course prix fixe menu, described as a mix of "American desserts, French presentation, and Japanese tasting portions," includes an amuse bouche, dessert of your choice, and assorted petits fours. The menu changes daily, with seasonally inspired items. A fall menu could include desserts such as butternut squash ice cream brûlée on spice genoise cake with cranberry relish and frosted pecans, and warm chocolate tart with pink peppercorn ice cream and red wine sauce. ChikaLicious also offers a selection of wines, beer, and organic coffee.
3. The Solstice, Chicago
Martini bar and dessert lounge Solstice want their customers to "feel at home here whether they are in formal evening attire or something much more casual." The dessert menu includes contemporary creations such as "Chocolate Marjolaine," a dish of chocolate meringue, white chocolate mousse, ganache, and chocolate shavings, and classic dessert items such as molten lava cake. If you feel like drinking your dessert, the extensive list of handcrafted martinis — including flavors such as peanut butter cup and red velvet — can also be made alcohol-free.
4. Spot Dessert Bar, New York City
At Spot Dessert Bar, traditional sweets get an Asian twist with exotic ingredients such as green tea, yuzu, and kabocha squash. The top- selling item, Chocolate Green Tea Lava Cake, is a warm and soft dark chocolate cake with green tea ganache, green tea ice cream, and walnut "soil." Smoked Coconut Cheesecake and Thai Tea Crème Brûlée are other top dessert choices. Cupcakes, bubble tea, and hot coffee and tea drinks are also offered.
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