Pichet Ong’s latest venture, Dessert Spot, opened last Wednesday on St. Marks in the East Village. I had a chance to stop in yesterday, and luckily I was hungry.
I should start by saying that I was not a big fan of his last place, Batch. The concept was great, but I felt the desserts were more sugary than flavorful. Sorry Pichet, but now that you have Dessert Spot I can say this because I am a fan of the new recipes. It seems that Pichet took a few months off, spent some time in Sydney, and somewhere along the way got inspiration for some really flavorful and delicious desserts.
During our visit three friends and I shared:
- Chocolate cupcake with apricot filling and green tea buttercream
- Coconut chocolate chip cookie (the size of City Bakery’s cookies)
- Peanut butter cookie with sea salt (about 2″ thick and 3″ in diameter)
- Passionfruit banana sorbet with red thai jewels (made with water chestnuts and a gelatin coating, I believe)
- Vietnamese coffee ice cream with poached pears
- Cheesecake with a walnut crust, huckleberry compote and passionfruit foam topping (served with orange slices)
I really enjoyed each and every one of the desserts. The peanut butter cookie and coconut chocolate chip cookie were doughy and slightly under baked, which may put off some, but it fulfilled my comfort food craving. The passionfruit sorbet was very refreshing and paired well with the thai jewels. My least favorite dessert was the coffee ice cream, only because it didn’t seem different enough from good coffee ice cream available elsewhere (and at $3 for a tiny scoop, I want something more unique). Surprisingly, one of my favorite creations was the chocolate, apricot and green tea cupcake. All three flavors held their own and the buttercream was perfectly smooth and creamy.
As for the cheesecake, it was also tasty, but I’m a simple dessert girl and I’d rather see Pichet experiment more with natural ingredients (including alternative, natural sugars) and new flavors than continue to play with foams and plating.
The one thing that I’m still uncertain about with the Dessert Spot, is if it’s intended more for take-out or sit-down service. The space is small, and the counter is set back from the window and hard to browse without getting in the way of the seating area. I can imagine it would be impossible to order once it gets crowded. There are about 15 seats in the place, mostly on wood tables and benches with “faux grass” underneath, giving it a picnic feel.
The space is nice, and I’m really happy to have another casual, yet polished, dessert establishment in town. Since it’s located in the always busy St. Marks area of the East Village, I expect it to do well. It’s slightly hidden down a flight of stairs, so keep an eye out for it on the north side of the street amongst the rows of Japanese restaurants.
13 St. Marks Place (between 2nd and 3rd Avenue)
Look down the stairs on the north side of the street, in the old Iron Fairies space
Hours not posted yet (should be at least til 10pm)
(212) 677-5670 phone