BEST FRIED DESSERT - 2006
The Coral Room is firmly rooted in Asian-urban minimalism -- but it goes over the top with its coconut tempura banana. This dessert is an absolutely deadly fusion of Japanese, Indonesian, French and Caribbean flavors that's so good we had to order a second, just to make sure that our first banana wasn't some kind of freakish mistake. It wasn't. The kitchen takes a banana, dips it in sweetened coconut tempura batter, deep-fries it and then serves it with coconut gelato in a smear of chocolate ganache. The dessert is so damnably habit-forming that it really ought to be classified as a narcotic, and it's certainly the best thing to come out of any restaurant's fryer since that guy who first decided to drop in a Twinkie.