For dessert, may we recommend grasshopper cheesecake? Considering that Puck’s French pastry chef Kamel Guechida never made cheesecake before moving to the U.S., he hit a home run with this version offered at Spago. The light, delicious individual cheesecake is topped with chocolate — which would be good enough on its own. But the chef takes it further by accompanying it with toasted marshmallows, brownie bits and a scoop of mint chocolate ice cream.
Or, perhaps you’d prefer piña colada dessert. Forget about the tropical drinks you had on your last Caribbean vacation, this frozen dessert version puts them all to shame. The chef starts with aloe-coconut shaved ice. Next, he adds pineapple compote. A crisp caramel tuile finishes it off. While capturing the namesake drink’s flavors, it’s much lighter. – A.M.