Long Island is getting its just desserts.
And after a taste, you'll think everyone must have been very, very good.
From the homey and the unadorned to the complex and the artful, sweets are back in style and in the moment. Some are updated classics or tweaked standards. Plenty are sprung from the imaginations of creative chefs. There are themed, multisweet finales as well as singular eye-catchers.
Many restaurants are emphasizing seasonal and local ingredients. And more than a few are updating their desserts with daily specials, adding to the year-round staples such as cheesecake and ice cream.
Here are some favorites that stand out after months of dining in Nassau and Suffolk, north and south, east and west.
You always should leave room for them. And if you can't, remember the maxim: Life is short. Eat dessert first. (Selections by Newsday food staff)
Chocolate bread pudding, Basil Cafe & Restaurant
Basil Cafe & Restaurant, St. James: This spot serves chocolate bread pudding with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. It tastes indulgent without weighing you down.
Kentucky bourbon-soaked pound cake, Henley's Village Tavern
Henley's Village Tavern, Brightwaters: Kentucky bourbon-soaked pound cake, served with vanilla ice cream, berries and bourbon maple syrup, is swoonworthy at this gastropub.
Locale, Patchogue: Here, profiteroles arrive in an iron skillet with a dollop of house made whipped cream alongside the pastries that sandwich orbs of vanilla ice cream.
Chocolate bourbon pecan pie, Copper Pot Chicken Co.
Copper Pot Chicken Co., Rockville Centre: Chocolate bourbon pecan pie offers a slightly boozy finish at this fried chicken spot.
Affogato, MaBella Restaurant
MaBella Restaurant, Commack: Affogato, or espresso drizzled over vanilla ice cream and topped with whipped cream and hazelnuts, is a glorious clash of temperatures and textures at this Italian spot.
'Holy Smoke,' Louie's Grill & Liquors
Louie's Grill & Liquors, Port Washington: The showier side of Louie's Grill & Liquors materializes at dessert with a finale termed "holy smoke" -- a respectable hot fudge sundae positioned in a teapot that exhales "cool-breeze smoke."
Cinnamon doughnuts, Wildfeast
Wildfeast, Long Beach: Finish your meal at this spot with cinnamon doughnuts, whose flaky crust you will enjoy licking off your fingers long after you've paid the check.
The 'teardrop', H2O Seafood & Sushi
H2O Seafood & Sushi, East Islip: The "teardrop" dessert, made with layers of chocolate-hazelnut mousse, almond cake and chocolate crunch, is served with vanilla ice cream.
Halvah, Kabobshak Mediterranean Grill
Kabobshak Mediterranean Grill, Selden: Halvah, a Middle Eastern dessert made with sesame seeds, pistachio nuts and sugar, is served at this eatery.
Tiramisu, Centro Trattoria
Centro Trattoria, Hampton Bays: Tiramisu is tall and fluffy with a nice shot of coffee flavor at this Italian spot.
Chocolate lava cake, Tavern 227
Tavern 227, Sea Cliff: The chocolate lava cake is excellent at this eatery.
Bread pudding, Gastronomy Kitchen by Cirella's
Gastronomy Kitchen by Cirella's, Huntington Station: The undisputed champ at this spot, located at the Walt Whitman Shops, is the warm bourbon bread pudding: a quart-sized canning jar filled with chunks of custard-soaked bread, chocolate ganache, ice cream and whipped cream.
Dark chocolate with Nutella, Salumi Tapas & Wine Bar
Salumi Tapas & Wine Bar, Massapequa: Dark chocolate with Nutella pairs with bread baked in house, dressed with olive oil and sea salt at this tapas spot.
Lemon Doberge cake, Del Frisco's Grille
Del Frisco's Grille, Huntington Station: The star of the desserts at Del Frisco's Grille is unquestionably the lemon Doberge cake. This towering six-layer affair of pale sponge filled with lemon curd, frosted with lemon buttercream and enrobed in lemon fondant, stands as a stark rebuke to overthought, deconstructed desserts everywhere.
Churros, The Cuban
The Cuban, Garden City: Fried twisted doughnut strips are drizzled with chocolate at this festive, Latin American eatery.
Badam halwa, Saravanaa Bhavan
Saravanaa Bhavan, Hicksville: Badam halwa, ground almonds cooked with honey and butter, is a dessert served at this Indian eatery.
PBNJ sandwich, That Meetball Place
That Meetball Place, Farmingdale: If you have room for dessert at That Meetball Place, opt for the PBNJ sandwich, with peanut butter, jelly and Nutella between sliced bread dipped in waffle batter and then pan fried. It's everything it should be: crispy, melty, with a timeless chocolate and peanut flavor.
Four-layer chocolate cake, Polo Steakhouse
Polo Steakhouse, Garden City: If you are going for the full steakhouse experience, finish your meal with the imposing four-layer chocolate cake at Polo Steakhouse in the Garden City Hotel. Recommended pairing: a tall glass of cold milk.
Carrot cake, Coalhouse Grill
Coalhouse Grill, Baldwin: The carrot cake at Coalhouse Grill is moist, with a nice hint of cinnamon and a measured hand with the sweetness of the frosting. It's served in a Mason jar with a plastic spoon in case you want to take it out.
Arroz con leche, La Candela Bistro
La Candela Bistro, Hicksville: Arroz con leche at this Peruvian eatery is starchy and creamy, laced with cinnamon and lime.
Espresso flan, Toro Tapas & Tequila
Toro Tapas & Tequila, Patchogue: Espresso flan dresses up with berries and coconut-infused whipped cream at this neighborhood spot.
Persian ice cream, Sufiya's Grill
Sufiya's Grill, Merrick: Save room for Persian ice cream made with saffron and pistachio at Sufiya's Grill.
Pistachio baked Alaska, The Lake House
The Lake House, Bay Shore: The standout dessert at this spot is the pistachio baked Alaska. The small mound of ice cream crowned by toasted meringue is delivered to the table on fire for just a moment. It's a reminder of the kitchen's passion and attention to detail.
Tres leches, Guava
Guava, Hampton Bays: Tres leches, a moist sponge cake popular in Latin countries, has a rich, creamy texture with a clean cream, sugar and cinnamon flavor.
Brioche filled with gelato, Manna
Manna, Water Mill: Brioche can be filled with vanilla, salty caramel, stracciatella and other flavors of gelato for this classic Sicilian dessert.
Flourless chocolate cake, Campagne House
Campagne House, Bethpage: This eatery's smooth and dense flourless chocolate cake, accompanied by hazelnut gelato, is just big enough to lasts a few bites, the precise size required to properly finish dinner.
Doughnut ice cream sandwich, Industry Standard Bar
Industry Standard Bar, Greenport: The ice cream sandwich for dessert at this spot is decisively distinct. A halved doughnut with a giant scoop of vanilla in between, it's rolled in rainbow sprinkles before serving.
Stracchino cheese mousse, Autentico
Autentico, Oyster Bay: Stracchino cheese mousse at this Italian eatery is sensational. It's drizzled with honey and served with caramelized nuts.
Chocolate cake, The Jolly Fisherman
The Jolly Fisherman & Steak House, Roslyn: A lush chocolate cake is a fundamental finale served at the end of an abundant dinner at this seafood mainstay.
Panna cotta, Primi Italian Steakhouse
Primi Italian Steakhouse, West Islip: Panna cotta is topped with Tahitian vanilla bean and amarena cherries at this eatery.
Crepes Suzette, La Coquille
La Coquille, Manhasset: Enjoy the delicate crepes Suzette, amply oranged with fruit, Grand Marnier and Cointreau at this French eatery.
Franina, Syosset: Zabaglione with berries and crumbled biscotti is a top dessert for two; deftly executed, exceedingly precise and prepared tableside.
Crème brûlée, The Trattoria
The Trattoria, St. James: The black and white crème brûlée is a deep-dish update on the creamy custard with the caramelized top that so often becomes a cliche. It's a delectable mouthful of both vanilla and chocolate that crackles on cue and will make you reconsider the dish.
BBD's, Rocky Point: Passion fruit sunflower with sorbet, crispy baked meringue cream and fresh passion fruit seeds leads the colorful desserts created by chef Ralph Perrazzo at this trendy burger joint.
Pastelitos, Corazon de Cuba
Corazon de Cuba, Long Beach: An improbable success at this hopping Cuban spot: pastelitos, or empanadas stuffed with creamy rice pudding and served with strawberry sauce. It's excess that works.
Bread pudding, Old Fields
Old Fields, Port Jefferson: From the Americas to Europe, modest kitchens to grand ones, bread pudding traditionally is one of the elemental uses for a leftover. But the stellar version here is fresh and refreshing, a lush number served in its own cast-iron skillet, crowned with vanilla ice cream and drizzles of caramel. You'll feel like eating it for breakfast or lunch, and definitely after dinner, perhaps accompanied by an Old Fields ice cream soda.
Dessert trio, Ephesus
Ephesus, Massapequa Park: Three Turkish desserts for sharing are accompanied by traditionally served Turkish coffee and tea. On the plate: two logs of pistachio baklava, custard baklava and fistik sarma (a pistachio roll).
Miniature dessert medley, Seasons 52
Seasons 52, Garden City: Miniature desserts are served in small glasses and include a raspberry cannoli, pineapple cheesecake and key lime pie.
Olive oil cake, Grotta Di Fuoco
Grotta Di Fuoco, Long Beach: Set on a slate, like a modernist still life, is the house's Sicilian-New American riff on olive oil cake with raspberry jam and sorbet -- subtle, balanced, diverting, and exactly what you'd like after a meal of big flavors.
Kunefe, Bosphorus Cafe
Bosphorus Cafe, Port Washington: One of the world's great pastries, kunefe is a golden disk of shredded phyllo enclosing melted cheese and topped with chopped pistachios and aromatic syrup. It's a Middle Eastern standard, and this Turkish restaurant makes one to order. It's well worth the 10-minute wait, and the best possible reason for trying something other than baklava.
Flourless chocolate-hazelnut cake, Cafe Testarossa
Cafe Testarossa, Syosset: Flourless chocolate cake has seemed to lose its vroom-vroom drive in recent years. Café Testarossa revs it up again with its flourless chocolate-hazelnut cake, which can stand elegantly on its own or as part of a trio plate that includes hazelnut gelato and a chocolate egg cream "shooter."
Four-way chocolate dessert, Hush American Bistro
Hush American Bistro, Farmingdale: The four-way chocolate and chocolate-themed dessert stars seductive dark chocolate mousse and the textural contrast of dehydrated mousse, plus the crunch of peanut brittle -- and a bit of Riesling-fueled gelée for another layer of flavor. Entertainment on a plate.
Lychee creme brulee, Be-Ju
Be-Ju Sashimi & Sake Bar, Melville: Lychee creme brulee is one of the East-West desserts at chef Tom Schaudel's Japanese restaurant, situated inside Jewel restaurant.
Warm apple crostata, Spuntino Wine Bar
Spuntino Wine Bar & Italian Tapas, Garden City: The best way to conclude a meal at this Italian small-plates wine bar is with the home-style warm apple crostata with salted caramel and vanilla gelato.
Bread pudding, Pico Tequila Grill
Pico Tequila Grill, Bay Shore: The opulent cranberry-and-walnut bread pudding at this freewheeling Cal-Mex spot is a finale you'll want to keep eating long after it's gone.
Tres leches cake, The Refuge
The Refuge Food & Spirits, Melville: Tres leches cake with coconut shavings and whipped cream leads the Latin desserts in the whimsical space that once housed Four Food Studio.
Chocolate-hazelnut layer cake, The Capital Grille
The Capital Grille, Garden City: Chocolate-hazelnut layer cake is among the sweets at this high-end steakhouse. Try it after your porterhouse, if you have room.
Cannoli, Il Luogo
Il Luogo, Lynbrook: Cannoli with chocolate and orange zest are a decadently rich specialty at this Italian spot. Have them with a strong espresso.
House-made candy bar, Jake's Steakhouse
Jake's Steakhouse, East Meadow: This eatery offers a house-made chocolate candy bar as a dessert special. It's a sweet ending to a beefed-up dinner.
Valrhona chocolate terrine, Jamesport Manor Inn
Jamesport Manor Inn, Jamesport: Sweet endings are served in this handsomely rebuilt local landmark. A top pick is the Valrhona chocolate terrine, topped with roasted pistachios and creme Anglaise.
Tarte tatin, Le Soir
Le Soir, Bayport: Tarte tatin, a French upside-down apple tart made with caramelized apples in butter and sugar, is professionally caramelized at this light, bright and romantic restaurant.
Gelato, Sant Ambroeus
Sant Ambroeus, Southampton: There's no denying that this spot offers some of Long Island's best gelati. People line up for flavors such as passion fruit, hazelnut and deep, deep chocolate. Keep an eye out for celebrities, too.
Luso, Smithtown: Always a crowd pleaser, flan is a top dessert at this Portuguese churrasqueira restaurant.
Challah bread pudding, Amerrickana Tapas
Amerrickana Tapas & Bar, Merrick: In a dessert inspired by celebrity chef Todd English, challah white chocolate bread pudding is served in a martini glass. It's a must at this tapas bar.