DC's Desserts Leave Best for Last
by kara manos
Tiny dancer: The lemon raspberry Pavlova at 1789
Known for fresh, organic produce and French-inspired dishes, Café Dupont features a dessert that even in name is as delightful as it is decadent: Millefeuille Aux Spéculoos et Mousse de Fromage de Chèvre. A layered creation of goat cheese mousse, pear jelly, dates, homemade caramel ice cream, and speculoos—a shortcrust biscuit from the Low Countries—this is a sublime Parisian love affair.
1500 New Hampshire Ave. NW, 202-797-0169
Blue Duck Tavern
When Blue Duck Tavern’s pastry kitchen churns out dessert, the temptation to indulge becomes much too strong for us to resist. Pastry chef Peter Brett is known for delicious apple pies with housemade ice creams, but we recommend his twist on the classic cheesecake: Wrapped in phyllo, the Sour Cream Cheesecake with poached kumquats will have you craving seconds.
1201 24th St. NW, 202-419-6755
At this venerable Washington restaurant, pastry chef Mallory Staley’s sugary passion shines through in a lemon raspberry Pavlova with lemon sorbet. The fried cherry pies and cherry root beer floats are reminiscent of soda-stand classics—and should be enjoyed with adolescent abandon.
1226 36th St. NW, 202-965-1789
The New York import’s famous Frrrozen Hot Chocolate is made with a special hot chocolate mix, ice, whipped cream, and chocolate shavings, a dangerously addictive combination. Also notable: the DC Treasure Chest, a chocolate chest box filled with assorted ice cream, cookies, berries, and cakes—perfect for a late-night snack with friends.
3150 M St. NW, 202-333-5193
The large macarons are magnifique at this Pennsylvania Avenue outpost of the famed French bakery. The sweet cake-like cookies are filled with jam, ganache, or buttercream, and come in an assortment of pistachio, raspberry, and chocolate flavors.
801 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, 202-524-4500
The Oval Room
At Ashok Bajaj’s downtown hot spot, pastry chef Cicely Austin incorporates inventive twists on classic desserts. One bite of the deconstructed hazelnut Twix bar—Valrhona caramel milk chocolate, salted caramel, a hazelnut Linzer cookie, Nutella dark chocolate crunch, a roasted pot de crème, caramel ice cream, and frozen chocolate powder—and you will never want to buy the original candy bar again.
800 Connecticut Ave. NW, 202-463-8700
Evening Star Café
Complete a romantic three-course meal at this Del Rey restaurant with pastry chef Tiffany MacIsaac’s Cobbler for Two. The dessert filling changes with the season; this month rhubarb is paired with a crust of house-made crème fraîche biscuits. Finished with ice cream and caramel sauce, these cobblers are baked to order and served warm, right out of the oven.
2000 Mount Vernon Ave., Alexandria, 703-549-5051
Co Co. Sala
Designed expressly for dessert lovers, this restaurant and chocolate boutique boasts chef Santosh Tiptur’s Chocolate Onyx, dark chocolate mousse enveloping vanilla bean crème brûlée, a chocolate brownie, salted caramel, and crisped rice pearls.
929 F St. NW, 202-347-4265
District diners can taste a little Nola in Nova with David Guas’s New Orleans-style Sno Balls. Inside his Arlington bakeshop, Guas shaves ice and tops it with house-made seasonal syrups (varieties include wild raspberry, wedding cake, and a traditional Southern favorite, nectar cream). Served in a Chinese to-go box, the refreshing treat can also be topped off with condensed milk drizzle for a creamier version.
1515 N. Courthouse Road, Arlington, 703-243-2410
The Blacklist's Megan Boone is gorgeous in our evocative behind-the-scenes video.