Actually his name is Miroslav Uskokovic but everyone calls him Miro. I met him for the first time a few months ago when having lunch with my friend Marko, who introduced us, and was charmed both by him and by his exquisite desserts. So when my editor Stephanie, and marketing manager for the new book Allison, invited Woody and me to lunch before signing advance copies of the book at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt's nearby offices, Gramercy Tavern was my first choice. I've long been a fan of chef Michael Anthony so I knew that we would be in for a special treat. And we were far from disappointed. Chef Anthony prepared many delicious courses which were not on the actual lunch menu and amazingly he presented a different dish for each of the four of us. Most memorable was the salmon, so lightly smoked the only way I found out it had been smoked at all was by asking the secret for its extraordinary moistness. We were too busy sampling everyone's food to stop and take more than a few photos but we made up for it when it came to dessert. After all, we were celebrating the birth of baking book and a new pastry chef at the restaurant. Kudos to Chef Anthony for making so many fabulous courses but somehow managing to keep them light enough to make room for a vast array of desserts!
The dessert 'course' began with something many would not consider dessert unless they realized that tomato is a fruit and not a vegetable. Chef Miro cleverly spun an intensely flavorful sugold tomato into a one mouthful bite of deliciousness by topping it with a cap of cream cheese mousse. These special tomatoes came from the nearby Union Square Market and were the last of the season. We knew that we were in the hands of a master magician. Next four desserts arrived, a different one for each of us but, of course, we shared and tasted everything. We enjoyed each one but possibly the Brown Betty was the favorite. No! for me my top favorite was the Chocolate Peanut Butter Mousse, Banana Cake and Concord Grape Sorbet--the stunning dessert at the top of this posting. Next was the Brown Betty. Chef Miro came out to greet us and present this dessert to me. How did he know! the Apple Caramel, Black Currant Jam and Hickory Ice Cream was a stellar seasonal offering as was the Pear Walnut Cake, Oat Crumble and Blue Cheese Mousse. For a grand finale Miro presented me with this lovely toasted meringue covered surprise. The inside was a moist coconut cake and on the plate was written Congratulations! And we presented him with an advance copy of the book which Woody and I both signed. And just as we thought we'd reached the end an enticing plate of cookies arrived with a little glass of milk for each of us. We were each handed a little goodie bag to take home. Mine contained an elegant shiny black box with magnetic clasp. That evening, I had no dinner except for allowing myself one of the chocolate bonbons which turned out to be the world's most elegant and delicious rif on mallomars. And the next morning for breakfast I polished off the little plastic bag of Gramercy Tavern Granola with milk. This was a celebration I will always remember.