Must-try desserts at Long Island restaurants
They may come last in line, but desserts always rank toward the top in our hearts.
Sometimes, it's the unique twists we crave, while at other times, it's the classics that most satisfy. Fortunately, LI is filled with restaurants taking both creative and straightforward approaches to sweet finishes.
All of these recommendations, from Peter M. Gianotti, Joan Reminick and Erica Marcus, are sure bets.
Olive oil cake, Grotta di Fuoco(Credit: Linda Rosier)
Desserts have flair at Grotta de Fuocco in Long Beach, including the olive oil cake served with raspberry jam and raspberry sorbet.
Iron skillet cookie, That Meetball Place(Credit: Jeremy Bales)
A chocolate batter, white chocolate chip cookie, served in an iron skillet at That Meetball Place in Patchogue is hot, soft and rich ($7). It's topped with gelato.
Tarte Tatin, Topping Rose House(Credit: Gordon M. Grant)
Pastry chef Cassandra Shupp's sweets at Topping Rose House in Southampton are exceptional and include a stellar tarte Tatin ($12; pictured in apple, currently available in apricot with cream cheese ice cream and almond brittle).
Broken down s'mores, Schafer's(Credit: Yvonne Albinowski)
A pretty dessert, the broken down s'mores ($9) at Schafer's in Port Jefferson is a three-part production with chocolate cake, a huge toasted marshmallow and candied pieces of Graham cracker.
Italian-style strawberry shortcake, Claudio's Ristorante(Credit: Newsday / Erica Marcus)
Each table at Claudio’s Ristorante in Glen Cove receives a gratis starter of cheese, salami, olives, bruschetta and white anchovies. You'll be OK with paying for their dessert of cream, puff pastry and strawberries that adds up to a sort of Italian strawberry shortcake ($8).
Chocolate cream pie, Mara's Homemade(Credit: Barbara Alper)
Chef Mara Levi's chocolate cream pie ($8) at Mara's Homemade in Syosset is an irresistible, irrepressible, homey testament to unfussy flavors: lush, dark chocolate mousse in an Oreo cookie crust, all crowned with freshly whipped cream.
Warm cinnamon doughnuts, The Lake House(Credit: Doug Young)
Eileen and Matthew Connors run the charming, inviting The Lake House at the edge of Lawrence Lake in Bay Shore. Conclude with warm cinnamon doughnuts served with a dollop of dulce de leche and a cup of Mexican hot chocolate ($8).
Port wine-poached Bartlett pear, Eric's Italian Bistro(Credit: Barbara Alper)
Among the sharp-looking desserts at Eric's Italian Bistro in Mineola is the perfectly Port-poached Bartlett pear with pecans, vanilla gelato and chocolate sauce ($10).
Whiskey bread pudding, P.J. Clarke's(Credit: Bruce Gilbert)
A must at the Woodbury location of landmark saloon P.J. Clarke's is the whiskey bread pudding.
Pumpkin tiramisu, Fargiano's Pizza & Pasta(Credit: Newsday / Joan Reminick)
Chef Richard Desmond of Fargiano's Pizza & Pasta in East Islip aces dessert. His pumpkin tiramisu (pictured) with drifts of freshly whipped cream is boozy, airy and autumnal. Also irresistible: apple caramel bread pudding, and black and white chocolate torte.
Bread pudding at Old Fields(Credit: Yvonne Albinowski)
It's worth visiting the new Old Fields branch in Port Jefferson just for the bread pudding. Yes, the bread pudding, topped with vanilla ice cream. And be sure to have a milkshake.
Blackberry lemon tarte Tatin, Bistro 25(Credit: Newsday / Doug Young)
At comfortable Bistro 25 in Sayville, chef and co-owner Brian Shuren's flaky blackberry lemon tarte Tatin ($7) puts a fresh spin on a French classic usually made with apples.
Lemon meringue pie, Polo Steakhouse(Credit: Craig Ruttle)
The $26 million makeover of the Garden City Hotel takes in the new Polo Steakhouse where, in addition to 28-day, dry-aged beef, the tastiest and prettiest dessert is the individual lemon meringue pie with a blueberry compote ($10).
Cannoli, Casa Rustica(Credit: John Griffin)
Home-made, freshly filled cannoli are a star dessert at Casa Rustica in Smithtown.
Sugar and Spice Doughnuts, North Fork Table & Inn(Credit: Kirsten Luce)
The sugar and spice doughnuts at North Fork Table & Inn in Southold are served warm with coffee custard dipping sauce.
Three berry pie, Trattoria Diane(Credit: Barbara Alper)
Roslyn's Trattoria Diane has a signature three berry pie thanks to baker — and co-owner, with John Durkin — Diane Durkin, who runs Diane's bakery next to the restaurant.
Bread pudding, Amerrickana Tapas & Bar(Credit: Jennifer S. Altman)
The opulent challah white chocolate bread pudding at Amerrickana Tapas & Bar in Merrick is the must-try finale. Anyone who's ever tasted the bread pudding served at celeb chef Todd English's Figs restaurants will recognize this one as one and the same. ($7)