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8 best desserts from independent restaurants

Nostalgia, variations on classics, and gorgeous presentations are on trend. So is corn.

Desserts hold a special place in many people’s hearts, and they also can be great for restaurants’ profitability. They’re usually low in food cost, but can be high in labor, although in reviewing the dozens of desserts submitted for Restaurant Hospitality’s annual Best Desserts contest, we were struck by the ingenuity of some entries for the straightforward assembly, such as the eye-catching Fruity Pebbles Dessert Pizza at Berwick Pizza & Subs, and the Lakehouse Front Porch Pie at Crosswinds Grille.

On the other hand, there are elaborate creations, like the two desserts that are assembled in silicone molds to resemble corncobs. Maíz (Spanish for corn), is the name of the dish at Tzuco in Chicago, which has ice cream made with canned corn as its base. The elote pudding, inspired by the Mexican street corn of that name, has fewer steps but equal visual appeal.

Black Forest cake gets a stunning makeover with the beautiful dessert at Mugen in Honolulu, and tiramisu becomes a lovely purple dessert in a jar in the Pick Me Up, which is what tiramisu means, at Jack Rose in New Orleans. 

Traditional desserts are imbued with new life with items such as the profiteroles at Cenadou Bistrot in North Salem, N.Y., which get a crunchy kick in the form of fried buckwheat, and a traditional lemon curd dessert gets transformed with grapefruit and honey at Natalie’s Restaurant in Camden, Maine.

Read on to get a more in-depth book at these award-winning desserts.

Correction: February 15, 2024
This gallery has been updated with an explanation of the honeycomb-shaped garnish on the honey grapefruit tartlet.
TAGS: Food & Drink
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