My parents like telling the story of how when I was younger and we would go out to a restaurant, I would immediately turn to the back portion of the menu to look at the desserts.
Not much has changed, and while now I can discreetly check out restaurant menus online ahead of time, I still pretty much tailor my meals around dessert, always saving room for it, always wanting to end a meal with it. It’s no secret that I have a sweet tooth! A humongous, gargantuan, perpetual inclination towards dessert of all kinds.
I often get asked for restaurant recommendations, and while I have been very fortunate to dine at some of the most excellent places here in Boston, I have a select few that are extremely close to my heart (and tummy) because they offer some pretty spectacular desserts. So without futher ado, here’s a round-up of my Top Five Restaurant Desserts in Boston and Cambridge:
Baked Alaska at Oleana
Baked Alaska is basically an ice cream pie topped with meringue. I first tried this one at Oleana in February 2011, and I remember being completely blown away by it. I really loved it, with the sweet coconut ice cream and passion fruit sauce. The base was made of chewy coconut and overall the flavors and textures just melded together so beautifully. To this day I still haven’t had another Baked Alaska to top this one!
S’mores Cup at West Bridge
This is the newest dessert in this list. I’ve had it on both times I went to West Bridge and it is actually a chef’s special so I don’t know if they are keeping it on the regular menu. (But they should! Please, West Bridge?) This was a S’mores verrine: chocolate panna cotta, miso syrup, homemade marshmallow fluff, more miso syrup, and a graham crumb topping. Pretty simple stuff – except for the sophisticated and adult taste of miso – but each component was flawless.
Butterscotch Pudding at Sweet Cheeks
This is probably the dessert I’ve had most often from this list! The first time I tried this at Sweet Cheeks, I called it the “wild card” in our meal. My friends and I were stuffed but they only needed a little convincing (by me, of course) to order dessert. No one expected anything super fantastic but everyone declared this butterscotch pudding their favorite. Since then, I’ve gone back multiple times to Sweet Cheeks, and always order this to end the (giant) meal. Save room in your stomach for this, trust me, it is so worth it.
Hot Chocolate at LA Burdick
Okay, so technically this is the one I’ve had the most since I’ve been going to LA Burdick for years and Sweet Cheeks has only been open for less than a year. My favorite thing to order at LA Burdick (and I bet it will be yours too, if you try it) is their hot chocolate. This is, quite literally, liquid chocolate in a cup: it’s shaved chocolate (dark, milk, or white) and cocoa powder whisked into steamed milk and topped with foam. It’s the creamiest, thickest, silkiest cup of hot chocolate. It’s different from my beloved tsokolate (Filipino hot chocolate) which, while equally velvety and frothy, has a slight graininess like Mexican chocolate. The LA Burdick version is exceptionally smooth and very intense.
Sweet Ricotta Pie at Abigail’s
It’s cheesecake, but ohhhh it is real good cheesecake. Abigail’s is one of the first restaurants that started the culinary boom in Kendall square last year, and the chef-owner likes to describe it as a blue collar bistro. The food and restaurant itself is friendly, approachable, with a touch of cool. The desserts are very homey, and this sweet ricotta pie is no exception. It tastes homemade, made with love, and because of the ricotta, it comes with a bit more heft than it’s silken pure-cream-cheese counterparts. It’s also not cloying at all, as some people claim cheesecake to be (not me). The drizzle of dark chocolate ganache is perfect.
Do you have a favorite restaurant dessert in your city? Cheers to sweet endings!
PS – As you are reading this, I am currently en ruta a Espana for a much needed and very much anticipated vacation. So I’ll be taking a blogging break this week, and next week you guys will be treated a special guest post. As you probably expect, I will be trying as many desserts as I can in Spain!