For proof that there's no such thing as too many dessert bars, look no further than Après Dessert Bar at Generous Servings, a Highland confectionery at 3801 West 32nd Avenue.
Sisters Jill and Mary Brinig opened Generous Servings a little over two years ago as a small cafe and community cooking school. The recent addition of a dessert bar allowed them to expand into the former Happy Cakes space (not to worry--the cupcake shop just shifted their operation down the street) next door, which gives the joint a more formal feel. The menu includes savory dishes, along with an extensive wine and beer list to complement the offerings. But, of course, we were there for dessert.
Kettle corn to whet the appetite; Coda Americano with shortbread cookie
We decided on the waffles and ice cream and a seasonal budino made with Meyer lemons. While we waited, the server brought by a small dish of kettle corn -- a light salty-sweet amuse-bouche. The dessert bar, and the adjoining cafe, use Coda, a local coffee roaster, for their espresso drinks, and our Americano came to us piping hot with a small shortbread cookie nestled on the dish. Not a stale afterthought, the delicate cookie simply melts in your mouth.
The richness of the cookie is due, in no small part, to the housemade butter Après uses in their baked goods. We got to experience the butter rush again when the waffle, studded with plump buttered pecans, arrived with a scoop of luscious ice cream. The slightly salty nuts remained crisp and were well-suited to the cool sweetness of the ice cream, an ideal accompaniment to the waffle points, which pastry chef Travis Leatherman perfected after trying a dozen different recipes. Our only quibble was that the waffles were no longer warm by the time we got around to eating them, though we were assured they are plated warm. It was a small penalty to pay for lingering over a great dessert garnished with the fun addition of a maple flavored candy in the shape of an "A."
Meyer lemon budino, on limited offer
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"The budino is a great dessert showcasing the unique flavor of Meyer lemons," says Mary Brinig of the second dessert we tried. "Meyer lemons are more floral than regular lemons, so we think they're best in a simple dessert that doesn't mask their delicate aroma," she explained. Though simply designed, the budino offered a striation of flavors and textures, including the promised floral nuances. The light and fluffy base increased in density and creaminess until it reached the jammy top, which was silky and tart; fat dots of sherry-blackberry coulis circled the plate. You'll have to act fast if you want to indulge in this citrus marvel, because with Meyer lemon season coming to an end, the budino will only be available for another few weeks.
Brinig wants to keep the menu seasonal, adding new dishes every few weeks. "I have enough ideas for new desserts to last us a lifetime," she assured us. But if you want to give the customer favorites a go, you can try the bite-sized Dutch doughnuts with ginger-caramel dipping sauce, or get hands-on with make-your-own s'mores.
Waffle and ice cream $7.00 Meyer lemon budino $7.00 Americano $1.50