Best Fancy Desserts (Tie) - 2008
Farina Focaccia & Cucina Italiana|Yoshi's Japanese Restaurant
3560 18th St.
San Francisco, CA 94110
The desserts at both Farina and Yoshi's go far beyond the standard sweets you might expect at Italian (tiramisu, affogato) and Japanese (green tea or red bean ice cream) restaurants. Both places offer exciting, carefully composed dishes that do more than merely offer a bit of sugary distraction at the end of a meal. At Farina, chef Paolo Laboa changes his menu frequently. Greatest hits include fried milk fritters served with citrus salad and blood-orange vanilla sauce; a peach-and-raspberry crostata paired with peach mascarpone gelato; and elaborately garnished seasonal panna cottas flavored with blackberries or chestnuts. Marisa Churchill wittily incorporates Japanese ingredients in her international desserts at Yoshi's: the key lime tart features curd made from yuzu sandwiched between graham-cracker crumbs and homemade marshmallows, dressed up with roasted pineapple and coconut sorbet. A sake cup containing a dense Suntory whisky-flavored cream accompanies plump beignets. Chopped shiso and papaya sauce and a salty sesame-seed tuile sparks yogurt semifreddo. A novel cake blends candied edamame and lemon. For $10 or less, you are in heaven.