The Campfire Dessert You Should Never Order At A Restaurant

It seems like a no-brainer: Why not offer s'mores, the perennial favorite dessert stacking toasted marshmallows and melted chocolate between two graham crackers, as a routine favorite on restaurant dessert menus? A quick bit of online research reveals that many restaurants and chains have at least tried it, with many offering their own unique take on the s'mores experience. We tried the Dairy Queen s'mores milkshake last spring, for example, which was essentially the campfire classic in drink form.

Another eatery, Chef Michael Mina's Bourbon Steak in Washington, D.C., offers an upscale spin on s'mores. The dessert consists of toasted marshmallow ice cream, chocolate praline mousse, and hazelnut streusel for a deconstructed pile of "smoked s'mores." 

Perhaps the reason that Bourbon Steak and other restaurants offer their own interpretation of s'mores, rather than the genuine article, is that the deliciously gooey treat is designed to be made in the great outdoors. S'mores, more than a mere dessert, are meant to be an experience shared with friends and family around a cozy campfire or backyard fire pit.

Ordering s'mores at restaurants is a risk, one chef says

But beyond the fact that restaurant-made s'mores can't truly replicate the full experience of the iconic treat, it's just not a good idea to order them at most places, according to pastry chef Saura KIine. In comments to Eat This, Not That!, Kline — who works at Local Jones, a bistro and bar in Denver's Halcyon hotel — strictly said to "never order anything that is a play on s'mores." Per Kline, having s'mores on a dessert menu is an indication that the restaurant may not have a pastry chef, meaning the savory cooks are resorting to an easy-to-pull-off dessert that requires little specialized skill in the sweets department.

While you may be a fan of certain restaurants' s'mores-themed offerings, it's hard not to agree that they just taste better when you make them yourself. If you're tired of the traditional version or are simply looking for tips on perfecting your recipe, there are tons of things you can add to s'mores beyond the requisite trio. For instance, how about bacon, cinnamon, and even strawberries to make your s'mores an even more delectable treat? And if you're nowhere near a campfire, an oven-baked s'mores recipe is the ideal way to whip up some gooey treats for a crowd.