Tampa Area Restaurants

Sweet Tooth: Bern’s Harry Waugh Dessert Room

I hope you brought your sweet tooth with you today, because I have some treats to share.

If you aren’t familiar with the dining establishments in the Tampa area, let me take a moment to tell you about Bern’s Steak House. It is quite the famous place around these parts. A dining experience at Bern’s isn’t a 45 minute in-and-out meal: it can take hours from start to finish. From aged steaks to ridiculously cheesy and delicious French onion soup, their dinner offerings are so tasty. They also boast an insane wine menu. And by insane, I mean that there are over 6,500 wine labels to choose from. They even offer 200 different wines by the glass. Mind boggling. When they present you with the wine menu, it is literally it’s own inch thick binder…and your mind immediately melts because the task of selecting a wine seems ridiculously daunting.

But after your dinner is complete and you take a tour through the kitchen and vast wine cellar…it’s time for my favorite part of the restaurant. Bern’s has a separate room for dessert: the Harry Waugh Dessert Room. If you are dining at Bern’s, your waiter or waitress will automatically assist you in making a reservation for the dessert room. The room does not take reservations otherwise: it is first come, first serve (so, expect to wait if you just show up for some sweets). The selections in the dessert room are almost as vast as the regular menu: there are various coffee drinks, and pretty much any dessert you can dream of. Oh sweet goodness. Let me show you:

Irish coffee, anyone?

Cappuccino Bern’s Steak House – very finely ground, freshly-roasted coffee marinated in Kahlúa and flavored liqueurs for an average of ten weeks. It is topped with a float of vanilla cream and finely-ground coffee. And it is delicious….

The last time we visited Harry Waugh’s Dessert Room, every single person around the table ordered a dessert. However, they are most definitely large enough to share between two (or three) people. We were just living on the edge. Behold: the Chocolate Chocolate Chocolate: layers of chocolate cheese pie, chocolate cheesecake with a white chocolate center, and milk chocolate mousse on a dense chocolate crust. It’s a lot of chocolate, but a lot of goodness…

Next: Vintage Chocolate Lush. Flourless chocolate lush cake with their legendary macadamia nut ice cream, fresh whipped cream, chocolate shavings and hot fudge.

That night’s special dessert on the menu involved a combination of chocolate and bacon treats: it featured homemade marshmallows, a blondie with chocolate and bacon, a chocolate walnut brownie, and maple bacon ice cream. So different!

One of the most anticipated desserts was the Chocolate Peanut Butter Truffle. Food Network’s Sunny Anderson featured it as one of her favorites on “The Best Thing I Ever Ate.”

Basically, it’s a Reese’s peanut butter cup on steroids: peanut butter mousse with dark chocolate cream. With Oreo. Also – don’t let the fork in the foreground of the photo fool you (camera trickery): this dessert is definitely large!

I know that was a lot of chocolate…but there were two fruit-flavored desserts on our table as well. First – the Granny Smith Apple Pie: a caramelized apple filling wrapped in a sweet sucree dough and served with a caramel sauce and cinnamon ice cream. So pretty, right?

I have to say that this last treat took the cake for me. I was actually quite jealous, and I know that I’ll be ordering it the next time I visit the Harry Waugh Dessert Room. Ah, the Banana Cheese Pie. It sounds so simple…but it is spectacular! It is a banana cream cheese mousse in an almond praline crust with fresh bananas and whipped cream. It is so light and so flavorful. For a girl who usually isn’t into banana-based desserts, it completely changed my mind.

Drool. So, if you find yourself in the Tampa Bay area, I suggest you have yourself a dining (erm, dessert) experience at the Harry Waugh Dessert Room. You can thank me later.

Do you have a restaurant that boasts your favorite dessert? What is it?

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