Spicy Pumpkin Cheesecake
A rich, not-too-sweet pumpkin cheesecake is served atop a bright cranberry-port jam in this dessert, served in Gramercy Tavern's more casual dining room. Almost-salty granola adds texture and savoriness, while a tart mandarin orange sorbet contributes punchy acidity. Candied cranberries and a flake of gold leaf finish the dish.
This dessert, also offered in the main dining room, is a symphony of pear. The fruit shows up in various forms: chopped raw Bosc; a smooth Bartlett sorbet; a Seckel pear chip; and in a pear cider-caramel sauce. The centerpiece of the dish is a crème brûlée steeped with herbal-tasting linden flowers; rods of jaggery meringue add crunch, and micro arugula brings a peppery note.
"We have a different concept for the main dining room and the Tavern here," Uskokovic explained. Dining room desserts, offered at the end of the tasting menu, tend to be slightly more conceptual than the more comforting desserts served in the Tavern. This dining room dessert features layers of color, flavor, and texture in the form of buttermilk panna cotta, quince jam, vanilla tapioca pudding, poached quince, aerated lemon curd, and a cooling shock of pomegranate granita. Pistachios dragées—coated in a crispy candy shell—add sweetness and crunch.
Here's the chocolate cake inspired by Uskokovic's mother. "In Serbia, there is a very traditional chocolate roulade that everyone knows how to make," the chef explained. "It's filled with chocolate mousse and a whole banana, so that when you cut it into slices, each piece has a bit of fruit." Uskokovic took that humble dessert and spun it into this elevated version, featuring devil's food cake, caramel mousse, and a layer of mashed bananas Foster in the middle. Dense banana ice cream, sesame powder and black cardamom finish the plate.