I have always been suspicious of carrot cake. A dessert that’s made from one of the healthiest vegetables just seems to go against the very spirit of what dessert is all about. That said, I never met a dessert I didn’t like, even one that’s made from beta carotene-infused pulp. So it was with an open mind that I approached pastry chef Michal Shelkowitz’s honey carrot cake from Dovetail. The waiter called it “very special”.
There are many components to this dessert but each one is easily identified as either sweet or balancing the sweet-the way milk does for cookies.
Carrot cake purists will love the cake portion because it’s super moist and actually tastes like carrots and honey. Complementing the cake is a scoop of soumac creme fraiche which is smooth and silky but not sweet at all. The creme fraiche sits in a pool of blood orange gel – sweeter than the other components but still not really sweet. On top of the second piece of cake is a scoop of roasted carrot juice sorbet, which goes in the sweet column, along with the candied honeycomb cubes. For texture (and for fun I presume) there are some fried carrot chips sprinkled about.
There’s a lot going on here and it’s a fun dessert to eat. Plus, there are so many unique flavors to experience (soumac?). Try this out if you visit Dovetail.
The bittersweet chocolate souffle with peppermint ice ice cream is also excellent. Most people will love this light, fluffy, perfectly executed souffle. My own preference is for a darker, more bitter, chocolate flavor, but I know I am in the minority.
Dovetail has always been one of my favorite restaurants to experience a “fancy-pants” dessert. The previous pastry chef, Vera Tong, who left in October, created some memorable desserts that helped earn Dovetail a Michelin star and three stars from the Times. However, after trying about eight desserts from Michal Shelkowitz I think she is going keep Dovetail on the favorite dessert list for the immediate future.
Recommended: Honey carrot cake, bittersweet chocolate souffle
Dovetail is located at 103 West 77th Street.