6 Diet Ending Desserts
DEL FRISCO’S DOUBLE EAGLE STEAK HOUSE
This larger-than-large, nearly 600-seat restaurant in the former Packard Building is a sight to behold. There’s a private dining room in an old bank vault below, a spiral staircase inside a massive wine tower and a dining area in an upstairs mezzanine that allows you to survey the action.
MUST-TRY DESSERT: The New Orleans-style lemon cake, a six-layer indulgence that takes six hours to make each day. 1426–28 Chestnut St., 215-246-0533; delfriscos.com
IL MULINO NEW YORK
Italian Set away from the clinking slots and clamor of Trump Taj Mahal’s casino floor, Il Mulino New York offers gracious service, a romantic atmosphere, bounties of Italian cuisine and enough grappa to fill a Venetian gondola.
MUST-TRY DESSERT: Order the poached pear, topped with just a tad of fresh whipped cream or zabaglione and arranged ona plate with sliced strawberries and kiwi, all fresh cut at your table. Chocolate lovers will be won over by the tiramisu. Trump Taj Mahal Casino Hotel, 1000 Boardwalk, at Virginia Avenue, 609-449-6006; trumptaj.com
Max Brenner is a name synonymous with desserts—or more specifically, chocolate. The Philadelphia outpost, with its retro-trippy interiors accented by polished dark wood, promises to satiate anyone’s weakness for cocoa: chocolate cheesecake crepes at brunch, the Chambord and white chocolate-infused Berry Lovely cocktail at happy hour or s’mores fondue for two at dessert. Max Brenner’s signature Hug Mug is perfect for wintry afternoon outings when filled with exotic drinking chocolates. Take a few treats home with you from the in-house gift shop.
MUST-TRY DESSERT: A tricky task to choose just one, but our favorite is the chocolate chunks pizza, for its lightly crisped crust and toppings of chocolate, marshmallow and peanut butter. 1500 Walnut St., 215-344-8150; maxbrenner.com
Chef and restaurateur Daniel Stern has been busy the past 12 months. In October 2009 he debuted MidAtlantic, which offers his interpretations of the regional cuisines of greater Philadelphia and the Mid-Atlantic states; in January it was the hotly anticipated opening of R2L, on the 37th floor of Two Liberty Place—a lofty project both literally and figuratively. Luckily, R2L’s dreamy vistas were no distraction to Stern, who has given Philadelphia a true dining destination.
MUST-TRY DESSERT: Warm vanilla cake. The molten treat conceals a melted vanilla-and-white-chocolate center. It’s one of Stern’s favorites. Two Liberty Place, 50 S. 16th St., 37th Fl., 215-564-5337; r2lrestaurant.com
Chef Michael Schulson first made waves in the area with Borgata’s Izakaya, but he has finally found his way to our side of the bridge—and with him come fame and high expectations. Happily, the buzz around Sampan has been more than justified. The13th Street resto has an intimate vibe and high-style décor, but the menu is what wows us the most. From dish to dish, Schulson expertly blends flavors that hang together and complement one another brilliantly.
MUST-TRY DESSERT: From Swedish Fish to strawberry pop tart, the homemade soft-serve flavors are all winners. 124 S. 13th St., 215-732-3501; sampanphilly.com
This 59-seater (38 more outside) from chef R. Evan Turney is a quaint and comfortable ode to its namesake, the famous pinup artist Alberto Vargas. MUST-TRY DESSERT: Don’t leave the premises without sampling Turney’s cherry-topped Victory root beer float. 941 Spruce St., 215-527-5200; vargabar.com
photograph by christopher gabello