Dessert Tasting Menus You Can't Miss

New York’s legendary Per Se recently began serving a dessert tasting menu — a parade of sweet courses such as strawberries and sake with vanilla ice cream. The Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star restaurant’s move got us thinking about other restaurants where dessert isn’t just the last course; it’s its own experience. Head to these five restaurants for a lineup of confections, whether you plan to order up a dessert tasting to cap off a meal or visit just for the sweet treats alone.

Per Se

The dessert tasting menu starts like any other experience at this Thomas Keller restaurant — with amuse bouches. The sweet starters mimic Per Se’s customary salmon cornets and gruyere gougéres that kick off lunch and dinner service, currently translated into pineapple cornets and rhubarb ice cream bon bons. While the dessert tasting menu changes often, you have a good chance of experiencing Per Se’s signature “coffee and doughnuts” dish — cinnamon sugar covered brioche doughnuts are served with cappuccino semifreddo. At the end, you’ll be treated to mignardises including truffles and pâtes des fruits. The menu ($65 including tip) is available in the restaurant’s salon area — a walk-in only lounge that’s slightly more casual than the Five-Star dining room.

Picholine

This Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star New York restaurant began offering a dessert tasting two months ago when it debuted a three-course dessert experience that will change seasonally with the dinner menu. You’ll start with a sweet “prelude” from the kitchen, then choose between two desserts for the next two courses — current choices include dishes such as yogurt panna cotta with rhubarb sorbet and chocolate flan with bittersweet mousse — before ending with petit fours. The dessert tasting menu costs $28 and is available after 9:30 p.m. in the main dining room or all night in the bar and lounge. Prefer to end things on a savory note? Picholine also serves a cheese tasting menu with wine pairings featuring cheeses including a goat’s milk variety from Spain and a Swiss washed-rind cheese.

Michael Mina

The star chef’s San Francisco eatery is his signature spot, and a meal here is topped off with a six-course series of small desserts. The tasting is the only dessert option at the restaurant (you can’t order a la carte sweets). The dishes come out one or two at a time — this month’s menu features a violet cake with dehydrated gin, yuzu semifreddo and meyer lemon gel. Showing up just for dessert? Order up the tasting menu at the bar or in the dining room if there’s room. The restaurant’s Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star Las Vegas outpost also offers a dessert tasting menu — the cost is $15 per person at both locations.

Tru

This Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star restaurant’s three-course dessert tasting menu is reinvented nightly. Executive chef Anthony Martin chooses three dishes from the regular dessert menu for guests — including sweets such as a honeycrisp apple beignet with vanilla ice cream (rings of apple are encased in doughnut batter) and a s’mores dessert with marshmallow and chocolate arranged to evoke a campfire scene. To try Tru’s sweet menu ($40 per person), you can order the tasting with dinner, make a reservation for the end of the night — the last reservation slots are set aside for dessert tastings — or stop by the restaurant’s lounge.

Providence

Providence has gained a reputation for its six-course dessert tasting created by pastry chef David Rodriguez. Current dishes at the Los Angeles restaurant include a sable breton cookie served with crème fraîche ice cream, chestnut jam and vanilla mousse, along with banana brown butter custard with a peanut cake and granola. You can also choose to add a beverage pairing — wines and sake are chosen to complement several of the courses. If you want to come for dessert only, expect a late reservation — Providence accepts dessert reservations at the last seating (Sundays at 9 p.m., Mondays through Saturdays at 10 p.m.).

 Photo courtesy of Mina Group

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