When Masa Takayama was planning the dessert menu for his robata restaurant, Tetsu, he asked pastry chef Matthew O’Haver to think beyond traditional Asian sweets. After the first few attempts, says O’Haver, Takayama told him to stop trying to please him. “He pointed at me and said, ‘You do you.’ ” And so, in pastry terms, O’Haver is this toasty slab of charred yuzu-scented olive-oil cake, paired with a stripe of mascarpone cream. It’s an inventive approach to a rustic Mediterranean dessert — sturdy enough to grill, in keeping with Tetsu’s theme, and, with its barely detectable hit of yuzu sake, true to its creator’s vision. “I add booze to everything,” he says. “And salt.”
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On the menu at Tetsu; $12; 78 Leonard St., nr. Church St.; 212-207-2370.
*This article appears in the February 19, 2018, issue of New York Magazine. Subscribe Now!