For some people, dessert is the best part of a meal. And if it were socially acceptable, hearty food would forever be substituted for cakes, cookies, and creams. Alas, that's not possible. Get the next best thing by ending a plate with a post-grub sweet.
Instead of basic treats such as ice cream or a slice of chocolate cake, try something classic. Dessert has been an American staple for centuries, and these five restaurants specialize in resurrecting and revamping age-old favorites.
5. Profiteroles at Le Zoo
Philadelphia-based restaurateur Stephen Starr opened his French brasserie Le Zoo nearly a year ago. The eatery, which is situated inside the Bal Harbour Shops, has continued to transport diners to the streets of Paris and the shores of Saint-Tropez with its Mediterranean- and French-style dishes, including its profiteroles. The small round cream puff originated in France in the 16th Century and made its way to the States in the 1800s. Le Zoo's iteration features praline, banana, and vanilla ice cream profiteroles, which get a tableside drizzle of warm bittersweet chocolate. The cream-filled, chocolate-showered treat costs $11 and can be shared between two diners.
4. Root Beer Float at the Sarsaparilla Club
Jeff McInnis and Janine Booth's Sarsaparilla Club is known for its spin on dim sum. But there's more to the American- and Asian-inspired restaurant. On your next visit, try the root beer float. Born in Windsor, a city in Ontario, Canada, the treat is attributed to a man named Richard Popovich, who was selling flavored drinks and ran out of ice. As a quick alternative, he used vanilla ice cream instead, creating what most now know as a root beer float. Also known as the “black cow,” the root beer float quickly made its way into the States and has remained a favorite. Find one at the Sarsaparilla Club ($4), which substitutes toffee ice cream for vanilla and filthy cherries for an added kick. Or forgo the drink and order the root beer chocolate cake, which features rainbow root chips glazed in honey butter and sea salt ($9).
3. Peanut Butter and Jelly at DB Bistro Moderne
Since the early 1900s, the peanut butter and jelly sandwich has been a staple in American food culture. The sweet and savory snack's pull on the hearts, minds, and stomachs of Americans has remained strong. Spice up the traditional treat at DB Bistro Moderne, which adds a twist: It includes peanut feuilletine, butterscotch bavarois, chocolate crémeux, and huckleberry sorbet ($11).
2. Strawberry Shortcake at the Continental
Considered one of the greatest American cakes, strawberry shortcake actually originated in London in the 1500s. Its popularity grew throughout the colonial United States as a seasonal dessert. At the time, Americans would throw strawberry shortcake parties while the berries were in season. Today snag a shortcake with Chantilly cream ($12) at the Continental, Stephen Starr’s retro-chic diner in South Beach.
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1. Mom’s Coconut Cake at Kyu
This Wynwood restaurant specializes in wood-fired Asian cuisine, featuring a variety of meats and grilled veggies. But every great meal should end with dessert, such as Kyu's Mom's Coconut Cake. A staple of Southern dinner tables, coconut cake is traditionally layered white or yellow cake with cream cheese or buttercream frosting and coconut flakes. At Kyu, executive chef Michael Lewis serves his mom’s recipe, carefully developed to perfection over years of trial and error.