Tag Archives: best desserts in manhattan

Bodega Negra NYC in the Dream Hotel

26 Mar

Another selection from Eater’s Heatmap brought a friend and me to Bodega Negra in the Dream Hotel on 16th Street between 8th and 9th Avenues. The NYC branch opened in February and there is also a location in London).

I was a bit nervous when I made the reservation, so I called back to explain my allergy (peppers the vegetable, aka, capsaicin) and ask if I was going to be SOL since it is Mexican food. They assured me that they make everything on the spot and I wouldn’t be able to have everything on the menu, but a good amount would be available to me.  Great!

We restated this to our waiter, and I made him nervous, but he assured me he would make sure I received no peppers.

The interior I would call… eclectic.  It was very dark when we walked in, and it kind of had a haunted house type feel somehow, with antique and semi-industrial artifacts hanging in every corner…





…including the ceilling.


We started with grilled corn with queso fresco and cilantro (it also had a chipotle aioli, which they kindly left off mine).  I’m a huge fan of grilled corn with cheese, and this did not disappoint.  Delicious charred corn with that salty, creamy cheese and fresh herbs.


We decided to split three different tacos, which were served in pairs.  We went with the peking duck mole negro (with sesame seeds and kumquat morita compote), pork belly carnitas (with salsa verde), and skirt steak (with grilled onions, salsa roja, guacamole verde, and queso fresco).  Our waiter checked with the kitchen and he informed us that I could eat each of them with a bit of modification, and he would serve the sauces on the side so my friend could enjoy.

But when he put them on the table he looked forlorn and told me I couldn’t have the steak NOR the peking duck.  Womp wooooomp.  But he came back a few minutes later to say that someone was messing with him and that the duck actually was okay.  Phew!  But the beef still was not.  Damn!

I so enjoyed the duck and the pork, however, that it didn’t matter that I couldn’t try them all (and my friend said the beef was also fantastic).  Really awesome with fresh, flavorful ingredients, even without the spice. Killer.


We got a side of fried plantains, which I was very pleased to find out was covered in delicious Mexican cheese.  I absolutely LOVED these.  Yum yum yum.


While we were eating, I saw someone across from us get a dessert that I just had to try.  Not only did it look delicious, but it looked like fun.  So the waiter came by and I asked what the sphere was that they melted on the spot… and he told me we just had to try the Don Huevo, which was described as dark chocolate molten cake, Negra Modelo caramel sauce. Had I not seen it at the other table, I would have never expected this to be what was delivered…


And then… the magic happened…


What was left after the decadent hot caramel pour was an incredible, phenomenal cake, with bits of crunchy white chocolate shell with some of the best caramel sauce I’ve ever tried. And the molten lava cake inside was perfectly cooked and perfectly sweet and bitter.  It was one of the best deserts I’ve ever had in my life. (And I pride myself on having had a whole lot of great desserts)


With a side of (chocolate) scorpion.



What a meal!  And that dessert alone… wow.  I cannot wait to go back… but especially for that dessert.  Run… do not walk… run to Bodega Negra and get the Don Huevo.  (And have a meal while you’re there)

Total Nom Points: 8.5 out of 10

nomscale- 08.5

Dominique Ansel Bakery

1 May

When Mike and I ate at Daniel in summer 2011, the entire meal was epic, but the desserts were hands down the best I can remember.  I looked up the pastry chef when I got home and found out that it was Dominque Ansel.  I also caught some news that he would shortly be leaving Daniel for his own venture.

Thankfully, that venture maintained his presence in New York and he opened up his own bakery in SoHo.

I got down there a few weeks after they opened, and I had a stepping into Willy Wonka moment.


They had cases filled with beautiful pastries.


They have a few shelves of packaged goods.


And a huge menu of goodies, including their famous Madeleines, which are made to order after 3pm on Fridays and Saturdays. I was impressed to see Dominique Ansel behind the counter and going to the back to make the madeleines.  I wanted to tell him how much we enjoyed his desserts at Daniel, but never had the chance (that’s a lie… I just couldn’t bring myself to talk to him… you have your celebrities, I have mine).


I ordered up some macrons to bring to my team in London.  While it was a gift, I did manage to snag one to try.  It was the best macaron I’ve ever had. By far. And I’ve had many. Every time I’m within 2 neighborhoods from SoHo, I think “maybe we should drop by there to get some macarons.”  Sadly, we haven’t been back yet. Though I foresee these in my very near future.


We also ordered one of the pastries that looked divine.  It was packaged in the most elegant box I have ever seen.


Inside was like a perfect prize.


It was absolutely beautiful. Sadly, I was just too full to eat this and was off to London that night, so Mike had to take one for the team and eat it himself.   To quote his opinion: “Deeeeeeeeeee-licious!”


Why was I so full? Well… because these little babies were just captivating.  When we had these at Daniel, I have a distinct memory of the waitress unfolding the napkin on top of these warm, steaming madeleines and the smell just being totally overwhelmingly delicious.  It was a similar moment upon opening up this paper bag and peering inside.


They were definitely smaller than the ones at Daniel.


And I don’t think they were QUITE the same.  They still tasted great, and that warm, lemony, sweet pillow is still something other-wordly, bit it just wasn’t 100% there.  Perhaps nothing can ever be as good as your first time.