Steakhouse looking for a new dessert - (We're Steak Guys, not Pastry Chefs!!)- ideas?

Joined Oct 2, 2001
Desserts have always been a dilema at my restaurant (we're a N.Y.C steakhouse seriously commited to a "high" prime beef program with dry aging on premises). Our kitchen consists of line cooks with limited knowledge of baking (preparation time is also a challenge - we average 500 covers a day and can do up to 1,000). With a concept as simple as the classic Amerecian Steakhouse, our focus is on using only the best ingredients available to us. I'd like to come up with a dessert that our line cooks may only have to prepare a few times a week that utilizes great ingredients, without being to "foofoo", while producing a WOW effect at the table. I would greatly appreciate any input or ideas that any of you may have.
Joined Jan 5, 2001
What about bread pudding? Whenever I'm with a group of friends, it always seems very popular with the boys. It can also be dressed up to look spectacular, and I'm sure you could experiment with a variety of flavours.
Joined Dec 12, 2000
Fruit cobbler or crumble

Cream pies, very simple, just make vanilla pastry cream and make your variations from there.

Vanilla ice cream topped with sliced almond s and cinnamon sugar

Rice pudding.

Hope this helps a bit.
Joined Mar 12, 2001
A 'stack' made by sandwiching poached fruit and quenellesof sweetened marscapone with sugar biscuits/wafers/tuilles etc.
Tira-mi-su is gorgeous and easy as are individual meringues piled up with whipped cream and berry sauce.
Good luck.


Staff member
Joined Jun 11, 2001
Hmm... I get it. Since I figure the attention span of your line cooks to be about 10 minutes, and the skill level to be not too high, here's a quick chocolate mousse. I'll even provide the recipe in cook terms.

1) Get some semi-sweet chocolate chips.
2) Get a scale
3) Weigh out an equal amount of chips and heavy cream.
4) Heat the cream on the stove till it almost boils and pour it over the chocolate chips. Stir it till it melts and add some vanilla or some kind of liquor.
5) Get the same amount of heavy cream and whip it up.
6) stir fold stir fold stif fold
7) Transfer to individual serving cups and allow to firm up, about a coupla hours.
8) Serve it up.

Since quarts are the easiest to work with, the ingredients will be 2 quarts of heavy cream, and about 2 pounds of chocolate.

Joined Mar 6, 2001
As a pastry chef who needed the hot line to put out my stuff I know what you mean!

Here's a couple things that worked well for me:

Fresh fruit gratins. 2 ways to approach it. Both use an assortment of season fresh fruit cut bite size. The easiest is a light pastry cream with marscapone folded into it. You dollop that ontop of your fruit and carmelize some sugar on top. It's much like a lighted creme brulee with fruit (Big seller for me).
Another way, is a frozen lemon disk of mousse you place in a ramikin cook 8 min. at 400, place fruit around sides, drizzle with orange sauce. Both gratins work well into the line cooks way of working.

Granites (frozen ices)work well. They are extremely easy to make and dish up and there hip right now. Lots of flavors...

fried ice cream always a big seller (maybe too big of a seller for your operation)

There are several things you can make using cake mixes that are simple and your customer wouldn't even know a mix was involved. Like an upside down cakes, pear and spice cake or chocolate fudge cake...

icecream tira mi su (using coffee icecream and vanilla sheet cakes)

semifreddos layered with cake, frozen in hotel pans, then you just scoop and you get both mixed nicely. Or a tortoni which is pretty much a semifreddo with toffee, fruit or chocolate folded into it

Anything flambe' like bananas foster line guys like to make but it's hard to get a consisitant product unless you make them portion out their ingred.

Chocolate fondue is basic. A ganche scented with any flavored liqiour then chunks of fruit, pound cake or whatevers on hand. You don't need fondue cups or soup cup work fine.

Frozen souffles are actually quite easy.

These are just a few items off the top of my head. I'll some back and post more if I think about it. I can help you with recipes if you need them.

Hey, here's the best advice of all, hire a pastry chef, why should it be any different than having a line cook....most of us can cook and prep. too (if needed)? Dessert counts too, it's the last thing your cleint remembers and it sets the tone for their next visit. A decent pastry person (not doing anything complicated) will easily increase sales enough to pay their way.
Joined Oct 4, 2001
Whatelse to go with a classic steakhouse but classic Cheesecake Brulee with Blueberry coulis.... very simple! :rolleyes:
Joined Jan 1, 2001
Try Mile High Mud Pie-
Chocolate cookie crust (you can buy them premade) pile it with really good coffee ice cream, top with chopped walnuts or pecans. Keep it frozen, you can make enough for a week in about 2 hours. When ordered, cut a slice (8/pie)
drench it it chocolate sauce and whipped cream. The steak lovin' guys will go wild for it.
Also try really perfect, big slices of apple pie, hot, with a hunk of cheddar cheese (or ice cream, yawn) on the side. Great as an end to a steak dinner. You can probably contract with a bakery around town to supply you.Though I have to say, good double crust fruit pie is hard to find in NYC-too much other froo-froo added and pie crusts tend toward the more dressed up and cakey as opposed to simple and flakey with lots of fruit.
Keep it simple. Steak is simple. All the rest is window dressing.


Staff member
Joined Jun 11, 2001
I don't claim to know your financial situation, but at 500 covers a day it sure seems like you can have a dedicated dessert station. Maybe even afford to have two people on that station. I'd definitely think about it if you have the room. I don't know how far this is true, but one restaurant owner I know has always said that the most important things are the beginning and the end. In the restaurant industry this translates to the bread and dessert.



[ October 04, 2001: Message edited by: kuan ]


Staff member
Joined Jun 11, 2001
How about a big cookie baked up fresh in a skillet as ordered, served with a HUGE scoop of vanilla ice cream and berries? You can put that on the saute side and make the waitstaff scoop the ice cream! :)

Joined Mar 6, 2001
Carnivorous 1 I tried to e-mail you the recipe but something happened and I lost my whole message. I'll just post here, (it's not my recipe at all) it comes from Michel Roux's book, "Finest Desserts". Page 92. "Gratins of red currants and wild strawberries".

The recipe calls for berries to be frozen into the mousse but I omit that, since some berries don't defrost enough before they reach the client. It's a pastry cream with Italian mernigue and gelatin folded into it. I use purchased dry meringue mix instead of making the meringue to save a step, it doesn't effect the recipe. You also can change the flavor of the pastry cream (I'm sure you know how) my manager called it a souffle and charged accordingly (it's very similar actually).

You can multiply this recipe to infinity, it works well in volume. This is how Roux published it, serving 10.

Lemon Pastry Cream Base:

1/2 c. lemon juice
1/2 c. heavy cream
6 yolks
5 tbsp. sugar
3 tbsp. flour
2 soaked and drained gelatin leaves
1 tbsp. lemon zest
(I add a dollop of lemon emulsion too)

Whisk sugar & flour, then whisk into yolks. Pour hot liquids into yolks to temper. Bring to boil (stirring). Take off heat add zest and gelatin. Let cool, then fold in meringue(below).

1 1/2 lbs. Italian meringue (or mix as I use, fully whipped)

Portion the mixture into individual rings or flexipans. Freeze them until solid then remove rings. Keep frozen until used.

Use a comercial convection oven at 450 degrees with fan on. Place a frozen disk of mousse into your serving dish/ramikin bake 10 minutes. Add fruit/berries around the souffle, drizzle orange sauce ontop.

To be considered....the size of your frozen disk in proportion to your theres still room after it bakes to fit in fruit and sauce. These also hold decently out of the oven (unlike a souffle). Also my guys thought they'd save time buy placing the frozen mousse in the ramikin (while in the freezer) but they didn't realize that that would slow down the baking time since the dish was frozen too (don't let your guys do that).

This is a very elegant dessert and it will get great reviews for you. Just don't tell everyone how simple it is....
Joined Mar 6, 2001
The previous recipe is perfect on a winter menu.

Have you done SABAYON with berries. It's so similar to holandise guys don't mind making it.

Pavlovas are also a great item. Look at Pastry--guys site for ideas.

Banana split strudel is pretty in...served with ice cream. You can make these hold if you bake your phyllo seperate as shells in muffin pans. To order fill with sauteed bananas (or room temp.) toasted nuts, ganache and icecream.

Banana pudding Southern style- vanilla pastry cream, purchased vanilla wafers, bananas topped with meringue (sweetened mix).

Instead of chocolate mousse cake do a chocolate cake with peanut butter mousse. You can assemble in volume and freeze to hold.

My brain ran dry for now, I'll be back though...
Joined Jan 26, 2001
Sabayon is good, but too time-consuming as it has to be prepared fairly close to the time it is used, because of bacteria and the temperature it has to be kept at. (Trust me, I was in charge of making it every day for our monthly dessert, and some nights had to start over because the egg yolk thickened too much or because I made it too hot and the egg yolks started cooking....and wow, I have great forearms now!!)

My advice- keep the dessert simple in ingredients, complex in garnishes. (That way people feel better about paying more!)

Joined Jul 28, 2001
I go with foodnfoto,
Jack Daniels Chocolate Mud Pie. Make em up once for 2 weeks, even in a ramakin lined with plastic. Mix the best choco ice cream with JD,layer that with cappaccino Ice cream,cover with ground chocolate something.When you need them just unwrap,flip onto plate, hot chocolate sauce on the station, the waiter puts a flaming shot on the way to the table.
Of course don't date yourself, the key is in naming any dessert to your needs. You know, you wouldn't want creme brulee, That has been pushed down the throats of customers for years.
I had dinner at a nice chop house here a couple of weeks ago and tried a dessert off the line(because I supply the others)I think W.DeBord mentioned fondue, this was brochettes of fresh exotic fruits displayed standing up out of a lemon and orange half. They actually took the time to cut the wooden skewers at different hieghts. It came with a quasi ganache, warmed honey, ground nuts.It was different but I truely enjoyed it. The other dessert was served in a supreme dish with dry ice, but I can't for the life of me remember what it was, free wine, not a good thing for the memory.

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