On Valentine's Day, there's never enough chocolate.
Bittersweet, isn't it?
Or very sweet -- or milky, or white, or with nuts, or with anything else. Even a bouquet of roses could be made of chocolate.
Always leave room.
To be ordered at the beginning of your meal, this bittersweet cloud defines opulence. First, the hot souffle is presented; then, it's punctured. Grand Marnier-spiked creme anglaise is poured in, freshly whipped cream is heaped on top. One spoonful and you're transported. ($9)
CHOCOLATE MOUSSE PIE
Chef Vincent P. Michaels has made this winner since he was a teenager. He starts with zabaglione that's fueled with creme de cacao instead of the traditional Marsala and adds dark Belgian chocolate. It's finished in an Oreo crust and served with espresso truffles and schlag. ($14)
CHOCOLATE CREAM PIE
Chef Mara Levi's chocolate cream pie is an irresistible, irrepressible, homey testament to unfussy flavors: lush, dark chocolate mousse in an Oreo cookie crust, all crowned with freshly whipped cream. ($8; On one day's notice, order a whole one for $35.)
THE CHOCOLATE BAG
Chef Tom Schaudel has been offering this stylized sundae at restaurants for decades. Bittersweet chocolate is molded into the crinkly shape of a paper bag, then filled with vanilla bean gelato, sliced banana, caramel and fudge. ($10)
FLOURLESS CHOCOLATE TORTE
There's an undercurrent of heat to go with the sweet in this four-star dessert. Chef Michael Wilson said chili oil is an ingredient that's added to the mixture -- which includes dark chocolate and egg whites -- before baking. The torte is served with raspberry sauce and fresh mint ice cream. ($7)
Why limit the dessert to one sweet? Chef Philippe Corbet brings together a rich chocolate pot de creme boosted by espresso from Stumptown Coffee Roasters, a molten-chocolate cake, and white-chocolate ice cream to decadent effect. ($11)
One of many reasons to eat at Iron Chef Bobby Flay's burger palaces is for the deep, dark chocolate malted that delivers a nice malt undercurrent. It's thick enough to be eaten with a spoon and comes with freshly whipped cream on top. ($5)
DARK AND WHITE CHOCOLATE MOUSSE
Chef Michael Mossallem's two-tone dessert is composed of bittersweet and semisweet Valrhona chocolate and Valrhona white chocolate: a scoop of each in a martini glass, finished with a raspberry coulis, a chocolate cigar and a fresh mint leaf. ($8)
At the North Fork Table & Inn, pastry chef Claudia Fleming's desserts end every meal on a high note. For the Lunch Truck, adjacent to the restaurant and open Friday through Monday (winter hours), Fleming makes the Platonic ideal of the chocolate chip cookie. Nothing fancy, just perfect. Cookies by the half-dozen also are available at the restaurant bar and on the dinner menu. ($1.25 each, $7.50 for six)
WARM CHOCOLATE TART
A little work of art, the warm chocolate tart arrives with cream cheese ice cream and a caramel-poached pear or fig. Executive pastry chef Cassandra Shupp uses a blend of two Valrhona chocolates. The pear: a sweet, slightly spicy Seckel. ($12)
CHOCOLATE HONEY CAKE
The elegantly restrained cake from chef Joseph Realmuto's kitchen is made with ingredients including Valrhona chocolate, eggs and vanilla. It is served with a garnish of local honeycomb, a honey lace tuile cookie and crushed cocoa nibs sprinkled on top. ($12)
Dessert queen Sarabeth Levine offers a seductive chocolate pudding at her department store cafes. It's lush in texture, flecked with chocolate shavings, topped with fresh whipped cream and worth breaking any diet for. ($6)
Among the myriad flourless chocolate cakes on Long Island, Verace's stands out. Chef Leonardo DeFelice uses toasted, finely ground walnuts to add depth and texture. Each individual cake is served with homemade vanilla gelato, a sweet moscato reduction and mascarpone whipped cream. ($6)