Bittersweet, Syracuse, N.Y.

Source: Syracuse.com

The first time we went to Bittersweet, Jen and Brian joined us. They had just wrapped dinner with some friends, and The Wife and I gorged ourselves on sushi at Koto. We decided to meet for dessert and were knocked over. I had a chocolate mousse that was so thick it should have stopped my heart. Since then, we’ve returned separately to explore the menu, but Friday night was the first time that the four of us went back together.

I can’t remember what bar/club/meat market formerly resided in Bittersweet’s location on West Fayette Street. The boutique dessert and wine bar opened almost two years ago and has about six tables in addition to the bar. On a typical night, this is okay. During Dining Week, the lack of waiting area is only a little annoying. But, as people on a mission post-Pastabilities, we planned to wait.

Bittersweet also offered Dining Week specials. For $16, you could have a glass of wine from their list of about 30 labels, a salad or panini and dessert. For almost half the price ($9), you could go the route of Jen and I, each ordering a glass of wine and dessert (she went for a malbec; I ordered a split of prosecco).

The menu of 16 desserts ranges from traditional (creme brulee and strawberry shortcake) to the indulgent (brownie sundae) to the creative (a homemade s’more). Here’s the thing about Bittersweet. You have to WANT dessert. You cannot just go and say, “Well, I’ll just try something,” or “I’m not sure.” You have to be in the mode of eating a heavy, life-changing dessert.

A very dark photo of a very good cookie sundae

Jen and I opted for cookie cake sundaes, a five-inch square cookie with hot fudge and caramel drizzled over top. The cookie is then adorned with a scoop of Byrne Dairy vanilla ice cream (she got chocolate) and homemade whipped cream. By the time I finished this, I started think about The Weight Loss Story and how I once ballooned to 330 pounds. Then, I scraped the heated dish with my spoon to catch all of the leftover hot fudge and melted ice cream.

Diabetes be damned.

Creme brulee

The Wife chose the creme brulee, believing that the custard might present the lightest of the options on the menu. As usual, she was wrong. The egg and cream custard was by far the thickest I’ve ever tasted, putting the foodservice offerings we usually encounter to shame. Brian’s s’more was the most interesting presentation of the night. A homemade graham cracker and handmade marshmallow provided the top and bottom layer for an ice cream scoop-sized serving of chocolate mousse. I didn’t ask if he liked it, but he’s never been quieter while eating.

The foot traffic in and out of Bittersweet was steady for the hour or so we inhabited our table by the window, providing a steady stream of customers. This niche spot is clearly doing something right, providing a nice diversion to the steady bass thump found around the corner.

Dessert and drinks for four, with tip, was about $50. Bittersweet is located on the fringe of Armory Square on West Fayette Street.

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