Dessert whiz Alex Levin has been busy transforming the sweets at all of Michael Schlow’s eateries—including Tico, Alta Strada, Conosci, and Casolare—since joining forces with the prolific restaurateur earlier this year. Our latest addiction: his Pot Brownie Sundae served in a cast-iron skillet (pot, get it?) at the Riggsby in Dupont Circle (1731 New Hampshire Ave., NW; 202-787-1500).
Levin’s treats tend to offer delightful contrasts in texture (creamy, crunchy) and temperature (baked, frozen)—attributes fully on display in this dessert for two.
• Levin makes brownie batter with rich Valrhona chocolate, which is piped into cast-iron skillets before the start of service. Inside is a rich, frozen hazelnut ganache that liquefies into a molten center when each brownie is baked to order.
• The warm cake is crowned with house-made vanilla and chocolate gelato—though you can swap in seasonal flavors. The toppings represent what a discerning pastry chef with the munchies might crave: toffee covered in dark chocolate and sea salt, hazelnut brittle, warm fudge, Chantilly cream.
• A sundae may seem like a simple dessert, but Levin layers ingredients for harmonious flavors. The same hazelnut is used in the brittle and ganache. Ditto the chocolate in the brownie, toffee, and gelato. “There’s no randomness—it’s very thought out,” Levin says. “A true stoner might think, ‘I’m going to get a brownie and put it in the bowl and get some Häagen-Dazs and peanut M&M’s.’ This is not like that.”
This article appears in the October 2017 issue of Washingtonian.