At Patisserie Chanson in Flatiron, you’re obligated to have your dessert first (and second, and third): The Rory Macdonald-helmed Dessert Bar serves a six-course tasting menu built purely of dessert items. Stationed in a former speak-easy and gambling school tucked beneath the primary street-level patisserie, the eatery plates each elaborate dish right in front of its patrons. “We wanted the process to be totally transparent,” Macdonald told Thrillist. “It’s an experience, not just a meal.”
While the tasting menu as a whole caters to sweet-tooths, Macdonald claims that, like with a traditional meal, his menu moves through more savory items before landing on the sweetest of the bunch. In proper form, the menu begins with aperitivos: a burst-in-your-mouth gin and tonic “sphere” paired with a eucalyptus-olive-oil gelato -- which is served in a cloud of liquid nitrogen smoke. “It’s a very natural flavor,” Macdonald said. “It gets your ready for the rest of the courses.”
Once you’ve made it through the first four of Macdonald’s courses, you’ll arrive at the crown jewel of the whole affair: the Duffield Cocktail -- which is more of a magic trick than it is a classic beverage. “We basically take vodka and turn it into gin right in front of you,” Macdonald said. The drink is prepared using a coffee percolator with a small gas burner underneath -- vodka is heated in the bottom of the percolator chamber until it boils and rises into the upper chamber, which is filled with gin botanicals and other spices. Once all of the vodka has evaporated into the gin chamber, the heat is turned off, the liquid condenses, and the masterful Duffield cocktails remains. “You’ve basically made gin in four minutes,” Macdonald claimed, “and you drink that warm -- it’s definitely my favorite.”
The cocktail is served with a miso cashew cookie, coated in house-made meringue, and topped with a pink grapefruit sorbet. “The [Duffield's] aromatics really enhance the pink grapefruit” Macdonald explained, “and the miso has an earthy flavor -- it really compounds together.”
Watch the video above to learn more about this dessert oasis.