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Step Inside The Dessert Bar Speakeasy

At 20 West 23rd Street, you'll find Patisserie Chanson, a modern, upscale French pastry shop and cafe with dessert resembling works of art almost too pretty to eat (almost). Buried below, lives The Dessert Bar, an evening-time, sensual dessert experience where pastry chefs prepare a six-course dessert tasting menu and cocktail pairings right in front of you. Executive Chef Rory Macdonald celebrates dessert making as an interactive art form.  

"The Dessert Bar came about for a few reasons: I was inspired by other Chef’s Tables where you could be in the kitchen and see how it's all done. Having worked in restaurants with these and seeing guests reactions, I thought it would be really interesting to try the same thing but with desserts only" says Chef Macdonald.

The Dessert Bar pays homage to its history as the downstairs space once served as a prohibition-era casino academy and speakeasy. The six-course dessert tasting ($75 per person) is intentionally designed to not leave diners crashing from a sugar high. The personalized menu features sweet and savory courses with the dishes starting off more savory, and ending on a sweeter note almost mimicking an actual dinner experience. The plates change seasonally and are meant to stimulate your senses so you see, smell, hear and taste during your dining experience. The courses can be complemented by a cocktail and wine pairing for $58 per person that is optional. 


This month, inspired by the peak of berry season, Chef Macdonald reached out to his favorite tri-state farms to create an eight-course Berry Dessert Bar Tasting Menu, which focuses entirely on fresh, locally-sourced berries, and features an assortment of imaginative interpretations of traditional patisserie. Take, for example, the "French Toast Crunch" that features bruleed french toast, local blackberries, coconut horchata, and basil. Other new desserts include the “Pavlova” dish made with Pell Farms strawberries, yogurt meringue, raspberry sherbet, macerated strawberries, and crème fraiche, and the "Anise Hyssop: Huckleberry" plate featuring Lillet Blanc & Hyssop granita, local huckleberries, cucumber, and an herb flower salad. 

Each item on the menu is created in an entertaining, dramatic fashion right in front of guests. The team of pastry chefs loves to shock people so they never know what to expect. Chef Macdonald intended for the veil to be lifted between the pastry kitchen and guests as the craftmanship of the plate is well worth watching. "There is a lot of technique involved in pastry, and interesting methods of doing things. When a finished plate arrives at your table, it looks great but as a guest, you have no idea how it was made – so I wanted to showcase this, and give the guest an interactive insight into the whole process. Also whereas in the patisserie we are founded in our classic roots, the dessert bar is like our laboratory, where we can try and test new techniques and flavors and push the envelope a little" explains Chef Macdonald. 

Overall, Patisserie Chanson's underground Dessert Bar is meant to wow guests with a theatrical dining experience

The Dessert Bar, 20 West 23rd Street, between Fifth and Sixth Avenue. 

The Dessert Bar is open Wednesday and Thursday for an 8 pm seating, & Friday and Saturday for 7 pm and 9:15 pm seatings.

Reservations can be made here.  

Sources: Patisserie Chanson.


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Spring is in the air at @mangia_nyc_officialand perfect for outdoor dining πŸ’šπŸ’« πŸ“Έ: @cynstahgram Flowers by @floratorium
2 days ago