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When Patrick Mulvaney was about to open his eponymous restaurant in midtown in 2006, he knew he needed a chocolate dessert of some kind on the menu.
As a kid, the former New Yorker loved Hostess snack cakes, so he worked with his team to create a fine-dining equivalent. The finished result, which he dubbed the “Ding Dong,” combined components from three different top chefs.
The recipe for the dessert’s devil’s food cake was created by one of Patrick’s old bosses—Leslie Revsin, a New York culinary star who was the first female chef at the city’s Waldorf Astoria hotel. For the chocolate mousse in the center, Mulvaney tapped the expertise of Casey Hayden, formerly of the original Spago restaurant in West Hollywood, who was the pastry chef at Paragary’s when Mulvaney worked there in the ’90s. And the shiny chocolate glaze that encases the cylindrical cake was created by none other than über-chocolatier Ginger Elizabeth Hahn, who was renting out kitchen space in the B&L as she prepared to launch her midtown desserterie. Finally, an in-house contest to see who could draw the best Hostess cupcake-style loops on top was won by the pantry guy, Mikey Tan.
Now technically, Mulvaney’s creation looks like the classic Hostess cupcake on the top, but the glaze coating is all Ding Dong. Plus, Ding Dong is just more fun to say. “I thought it was funny,” notes the chef-owner, adding that there were also “lively discussions as to whether it was a Ding Dong or a Ho Ho. My dad was a lawyer and he said to never let the truth get in the way of a story.”
The dessert was an instant hit, but Mulvaney pulled it off the menu after about a year to mix up the offerings. “But there were literally people who would leave the restaurant if we didn’t have it. They would say, ‘Call me when you do have it,’ ” he remembers. “So now we just have it all the time. It’s become a not-so-secret [secret], like getting your burger animal style [at In-N-Out].”
Also on the off-menu menu, Mulvaney recommends the under-the-radar Sweetbreads Bernard. Named after longtime client Bernard Miramon, the sweetbreads are cooked with mushrooms, marsala, veal demi glace and “lots of butter,” and the chef always has them available in case Miramon shows up without a reservation. And if you are at the restaurant and hankering for a burger, Mulvaney can rustle you up the Chevo Burger, which he made one night for the late boulevardier Eusebio “Chevo” Ramirez, with ground dry-aged rib-eye, cheese, grilled onions and chili aioli. $8. 1215 19th St. 916-441-1771. mulvaneysbl.com