With all the positive reviews and hype about Dovetail’s desserts and its pastry chef Vera Tong, I was scared of a massive let-down along the lines of Godfather III. What if the desserts sucked? So it was with adjusted (though still sky-high) expectations that I went to Dovetail Saturday night for my sweetie’s birthday. Dovetail upended those expectations, and then obliterated them.
Everything was superb, not just the desserts. The service from the reception staff to the Maitre D’ and wait staff was friendly and warm. Every dish on the chef’s tasting menu was exciting (though I regret upgrading to the grilled foie gras with cherries and fennel). Best of all our waiter had no issue granting us two different desserts instead of the standard identical tasting selections.
The pre-dessert on the tasting menu was a passion fruit pudding with “fizzy meringue” and raspberry sorbet. This was more than just a traditional sorbet palate cleanser. The meringue was tangy and slightly tart which contrasted really well with the sweet and flavorful pudding. The sorbet was also tangy and all three textures went together really well.
I ate three full dessert courses (yes, it was J’s birthday not mine, what’s your point?). My favorite was the S’mores dish. This dish included (follow closely now): house-made marshmallows with coffee shortbread (dusted with graham crackers?) and three layers of chocolate: milk, semi-sweet and a 70+. Served with ice cream. The magic in this dessert was the crunchy snap of the shortbread cookies with the smooth and intensely flavorful dark chocolate in the the triple chocolate layer. Like a 5-Star Twix made from the finest ingredients. . Next up was the bread pudding with caramelized banana and bacon brittle with vanilla rum ice cream. Dovetail’s small-ish bread pudding was the opposite of Blue Ribbon’s famous monster serving of chocolate bread pudding. While Blue Ribbon goes big and features crunchy toasted bread dripping with chocolate sauce, Dovetail goes compact and throws in all kinds of flavors like that bacon and caramelized banana. The bacon, vanilla rum ice cream and cookie all work well with the caramel soaked bread. Don’t tell Blue Ribbon bacon goes so well with bananas.
The peanut butter milk chocolate pretzel log with sea salt and beer ice cream (made with Guinness) seemed really experimental, like something from WD-50 (I had white beer ice cream in a dessert there once). That was good, but this tasted better, again with multiple textures and flavors and savory sweet contrast.
They sent us home with some delicious house made peanut butter granola. They also gave me a tour of the kitchen and introduced me to Vera Tong who took time to chat with me for a minute or two. There is no question in my mind that she will be one of the next huge pasty chefs who will have name recognition beyond foodies. I can’t wait to sit at Dovetail’s bar and try the rest of her current desserts this fall. . Out of all the high end restaurants that DessertBuzz’s budget allows me to take in, Dovetail is in my top 3 in the forward thinking dessert category. Its right up there with Craft (while Karen DeMasco was there), WD-50, Ubuntu and Bouley in my humble opinion.
Dovetail’s website is here. Dovetail is located here. More of the “Best Fancy Restaurant” desserts in New York City.