Dominique Ansel is proving once again that he is the Willy Wonka of French pastries with his newest whimsical eight-course dessert tasting and cocktail pairing menu, entitled U.P. (Unlimited Possibilities), at the newly opened Dominique Ansel Kitchen in the West Village. Inspired by a series of life’s firsts, the menu’s undeniable star is the “first heartbreak” dish. This stunning riff on a traditional Baked Alaska resembles a daisy on a bed of chocolate and rocky road ice cream. The daisy petals, made out of meringue, slowly melt away as they are set on fire.
As Ansel describes it to Grub Street, “Something that beautiful collapsing. That’s heartbreak.” (A bittersweet sentiment that’s not as delicious as the cronut king’s bittersweet chocolate, or any of his other chocolate concoctions.)
“First memories are so strong, they last for a lifetime,” Ansel told The Daily Meal. “Why can't desserts tap into that? For us, once you connect something with a first memory, it is no longer about whether it the flavors are sweet, sour, or fruity. It's about all the emotions it can bring up. That's what we're hoping to do with this first tasting menu at U.P. Long after you've finished and licked your plate clean, the memory still lingers."
Dominique Ansel Kitchen will begin taking reservations in May for the $75 per person tasting menu. Here’s a sneak peak at what you’ll get.
First Word (sweet pea, rice milk, carrot cake, meringue, yogurt, gin)
Cocktail pairing: yuzu sparkler
First Kiss (raspberry, fresh mint, vanilla cream)
Cocktail pairing: butter popcorn rum, cola
First Time Living on Your Own (sweet corn, crepes, smoked toffee, lemon, brown sugar, black pepper)
Cocktail pairing: kumquat Sauternes “sangria”
First Heartbreak (bergamot, cocoa nibs, marshmallows, bitter almond)
Cocktail pairing: Ceylon pekoe mezcal milk punch
First Job (coffee, cardamom, nougat, malt)
Cocktail pairing: chocolate stout shot in the dark
First Fine Dining Experience (dark chocolate, black currant, red wine, brown butter, puff pastry
Cocktail pairing: Port wine
First Dance (frais de bois strawberries, mascarpone, yuzu)
Cocktail pairing: Champagne
The Next First (single cherry, sake lees, lychee)
Cocktail pairing: Kirsch mist, sake