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Manhattan’s Must-Try Desserts This Fall

By Sharon Stello

Sugary inventions like the Cronut—a croissant-doughnut hybrid that turned into a craze with copycats across the country—emerge from the culinary masterminds of New York City, where chefs are constantly pushing boundaries and putting Manhattan at the forefront of the dessert scene.

Cronut creator Dominique Ansel won the 2014 James Beard Award for Outstanding Pastry Chef, and this year another New Yorker, Christina Tosi of the Momofuku restaurant group, took the honor. Tosi’s popular bakery, Momofuku Milk Bar, has developed a loyal following for treats like the salty-sweet Compost Cookie, which mixes pretzels, potato chips, coffee, oats, butterscotch and chocolate chips. Jim Lahey of Sullivan Street Bakery (with two locations in Hell’s Kitchen and Chelsea) also snagged a James Beard Award this year for Outstanding Baker. His shop offers a rotating selection of house-made pastries such as cookies, tarts and bombolini, an Italian doughnut filled with vanilla bean custard.

There’s no telling what these innovative chefs will dream up next. As you peruse the selections at local shops, don’t shy away from trying something new—you might just stumble across the next dessert trend that will sweep the nation.

 

Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse

Six-layer lemon cake at Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse. (Courtesy of Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse)

Six-layer lemon cake at Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse. (Courtesy of Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse)

Recommended by Vanessa Torruellas, chef concierge at The Iroquois New York

Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse is known for martinis and steak, but if you are just craving dessert, their gigantic [six]-layer lemon cake will satisfy your sweet tooth. (1221 Avenue of the Americas; 212-575-5129; delfriscos.com)

 

Ayza Wine & Chocolate Bar

Curb cocoa cravings at Ayza Wine & Chocolate Bar.

Curb cocoa cravings at Ayza Wine & Chocolate Bar.

Recommended by Vanessa Torruellas, chef concierge at The Iroquois New York

Ayza Wine & Chocolate Bar … is a really cute wine bar that offers Jacques Torres and other chocolates. This is a great way for a chocolate lover to treat themselves or for a romantic nightcap after the theater.” (11 W. 31st St; 212-714-2992; ayzanyc.com)

 

Lady M

Lady M crepes

Lady M crepes

Recommended by Lorena Ringoot, chef concierge at The Surrey

“Not to miss are the Lady M Mille Crepes. The signature cake is made with no less than 20 paper-thin handmade crepes with a light pastry cream. … It’s a perfect pit stop with a girlfriend in the afternoon with a cup of tea.” (41 E. 78th St.; 212-452-2222; ladym.com)

 

Sant Ambroeus

Sant Ambroeus cookie tray

Sant Ambroeus cookie tray

Recommended by Lorena Ringoot, chef concierge at The Surrey

Sant Ambroeus [has] the best espresso service in the area. The perfect cup of espresso served with a glass of water on the side and a special order of fresh cookies—[that is] ‘la dolce vita.’ On the side, their palmier cookies—aka elephant ears—are memorable.” (1000 Madison Ave.; 212-570-2211; santambroeus.com)

 

Ristorante Morini

Ristorante Morini's bomboloni (Courtesy Noah Fecks)

Ristorante Morini’s bomboloni (Courtesy Noah Fecks)

Recommended by Lorena Ringoot, chef concierge at The Surrey

Ristorante Morini is great for dinner, but the desserts are simple and special. … Bomboloni (vanilla sugar doughnuts) and affogato are simply delicious.” (1167 Madison Ave.; 212-249-0444; ristorantemorini.com)

 

Pepolino’s

Pepolino's cheesecake

Pepolino’s cheesecake

Recommended by Carmen da Silva, chef concierge at Soho Grand Hotel

Pepolino’s homemade cheesecake is unreal. I honestly don’t even like cheesecake, but it’s so light and creamy. Even when you think you don’t have room for dessert, you can always make room for this cheesecake.” (281 W. Broadway; 212-966-9983; pepolino.com)

 

Bubby’s

Bubby's pies

Bubby’s pies

Recommended by Carmen da Silva, chef concierge at Soho Grand Hotel

Bubby’s in Tribeca first opened as a pie shop before expanding into a full-blown classic American restaurant. Even still, their apple pie (or really any of their pies) are reason enough to visit Tribeca. … Also, they do accept online orders and can ship their tasty desserts all over the country.” (120 Hudson St.; 212-219-0666; bubbys.com)