Explore New York City

6 Sweet Summer Treats in New York City

When it comes to dessert, NYC goes bananas.

Young or old, we all scream for ice cream and variations thereof—especially in New York, where the traditional end to a meal, dessert, can be a meal in itself.

WTF Birthday Waffle at Clinton Hall. (Courtesy Clinton Hall)


New Yorkers are blunt speakers; they say it like it is. So, don’t be offended when you see WTF Birthday Waffle printed on the dessert menu at this beer-and-burger joint. You may even forget yourself and blurt out the phrase in full when the towering confection is set down before you: three waffles piled high and layered with vanilla ice cream, dusted with sprinkles in every color of the rainbow, laced with raspberry and caramel sauces, and topped with whipped cream and a sugar cone placed at a jaunty angle. A lit sparkler tells you this is a special dessert for a special occasion. If you can hold off until Aug. 1, Clinton Hall has an even more epic dessert up its sleeve: the What the Cruff Waffle. Picture this: two waffles and an ice cream-filled doughnut, topped with a whopping 14 scoops of ice cream and an ice cream cone garnish. What flavors of ice cream? Think: Cookie Monster, Red Velvet Cookie Dough, Stuffed Snickerdoodle and more. The What the Cruff is available the entire month of August. 16 W. 36th St., 212.695.0036, www.clintonhallny.com; and four other NYC locations

Grass Jelly. (Courtesy Málà Project)


Dessert isn’t something that comes to mind when one thinks of a Chinese restaurant. A fortune cookie perhaps, or chunks of pineapple. But at this home of the hot pot recommended by the Michelin Guide, there’s a good-for-you dessert: grass jelly. Made with Chinese herbs, the jelly delivers a grown-up kick. It also has healing properties. The herbs are said to drive away heat. Perfect for this time of year. 122 First Ave., 212.353.8880, www.malaproject.nyc; and one other NYC location

Flex Donuts. (Dara Pollak)


Mussels come in two dozen preparations at this bivalve haven, but there are only three desserts on the menu. Of these, Flex Donuts, in portions of four or six, are the way to go. Each donut oozes a flavored filling—salted caramel, wild blueberry, Meyer lemon, s’mores and more. If you’re counting calories, you may want to pass. But then again, no. 174 E. 82nd St., 212.717.7772, www.flexmussels.com; and one other NYC location

Flourless Chocolate Brownie Sundae. (Courtesy Bluebird London NYC)


Anglophiles, this one is for you: a flourless chocolate brownie sundae that conjures up the happiest of taste memories. For its base, a flourless chocolate brownie; next, scoops of vanilla and chocolate ice creams rolled in hazelnut-toffee crunches; and for its topping, great globs of hot toffee sauce poured with abandon and crowned with whipped cream. A regal, royal, majestic dessert, if ever there were one. 10 Columbus Cir., 3rd fl., 347.682.2100, www.bluebirdlondon.nyc

Julian’s Sundae. (Courtesy Aunt Jake’s)


The Little Italy restaurant makes its pasta fresh daily in myriad shapes, but it’s Julian’s Sundae that will have chocoholics shouting, “Mamma Mia!” The glass bowl can hardly contain the four scoops of chocolate ice cream, a bubble waffle, Oreos, whipped cream, fruity pebbles and chocolate syrup. Obviously, this sundae is meant to be shared, so bring a friend or two, dig in and split the $16 cost. 149 Mulberry St., 646.858.0470, www.auntjakesnyc.com; and one other NYC location


Here, there are pork bàos and beef bàos, chicken bàos and veggie bàos. And sweet bàos, like egg and matcha bàos. A sweet bào par excellence is the choco milk bào: a chilled baked bun filled with iced milk custard and topped with almond and cocoa. 360 W. 42nd St., www.baoteahouse.store; and one other NYC location