Signature DessertsJuly 21, 2011
When I write a dessert menu it is always interesting to think about which of my creations may become a signature dessert. Not all great tasting desserts raise to that level. Some can be really popular but for some unexplainable reason they don’t become signatures.
What makes a signature dessert? It’s a dessert that if you take it off the menu you get phone calls and disappointed faces when diners scan the menu and don’t see it listed. It’s the dessert ordered by practically every table for individual hoarding or to share with the rest of the table. Plate comes back clean every time.
I know restaurant owners who want chefs to create signature dishes even before a restaurant opens, but it doesn’t work like that. It’s more organic. Customers make a dessert a signature, not a chef. You make desserts and over a six month period or so you see how they sell. A dessert has to remain popular even with competition from your other desserts and over several seasons. For that reason, signature desserts are often chocolate based as chocolate is available all year long.
At Stars it was Chocolate Paradise with Champagne Sabayon; at Waterbar it’s Chocolate Pudding Cake. Other San Francisco restaurant signature dishes that come to mind are Coco500′s Vacherin with Coffee Gelato, Chocolate Sauce and Almonds; Elizabeth Falkner’s Rose Petal Crème Brulee; Delfina’s Buttermilk Panna Cotta; and Town Hall’s Butterscotch and Chocolate Pot de Crème.
What signature desserts did I miss that you love?