Thursday, May 04, 2006
new york city : post 2
ChikaLicious, a well-known dessert bar in Manhattan, is run by husband and wife team Don and Chika Tillmans. It is an intimate place seating twenty. With a modest and efficient staff, ChikaLicious turns out an array of beautiful plated desserts. I found the dessert tasting, which is the specialty, to be delightful. At US$12, the tasting includes an amuse, a plated dessert and an assortment of petit fours. For $17, customers also receive a glass of wine paired for the dessert.
During our visit, the amuse was a mint ice cream sitting atop a light and soupy chocolate gelée. My companions and I ordered three desserts. One was a carrot and pineapple mille feuille that consisted of a carrot cream that was sandwiched between crunchy noodle-like pastry layers. The mille feuille was topped with pineapple sorbet and plated with a carrot sauce. This dessert was an interesting and tasty play on mille feuille. The flavours and textures worked wonderfully together.
The second dessert was a honey parfait in a blackberry soup topped with tuile. The parfait was cold, light and refreshing, while the berry soup and tuile complemented its subtle honey flavour.
Third, we had a coconut panna cotta that was served with basil sorbet, mango-pineapple salad and sweet basil seeds. Of all three desserts, this was my favourite. The soft and delicate panna cotta worked beautifully next to the juicy chunks of fresh mango. The dessert paired fresh fruit flavours that complimented each other perfectly.
The petit four plate included a toasted coconut marshmallow, which was light and ethereal, a classic dark truffle, which was high in cocoa, and a thin vanilla bean cookie. It was a great way to end this fantastic dessert tasting.
The creative desserts at ChikaLicious were constructed on flavours, colours and textures that clearly worked well together. I am not surprised that ChikaLicious is often full and sold out before closing. If you have a sweet tooth, don’t miss ChikaLicious!
Room 4 Dessert
Slick, trendy and hip is how I’d describe Room 4 Dessert. This dessert bar is a narrow, twenty-seat, space in lower Manhattan that has a beautiful, modern interior. It is a three-month old hotspot that is a must for dedicated foodies. I would suggest arriving early or making a reservation, as the bar can easily fill up. The dessert menu is engaging and deceptively simple. There are three categories: first, desserts in glasses, second, tastings with multiple components and, finally, dessert alternatives, which include cheese plates and assorted petit fours. They also feature creative cocktails and a large selection of wines and spirits.
The desserts by the glass are beautifully layered creations that mix soft and crunchy textures with bold and interesting flavours. The “ice ice café” that my dessert companion ordered was an exquisite blend of coffee gelée, coffee cream, sweet basil seeds and ground cocoa nibs served with a frozen passion fruit parfait. The flavours and textures made my taste buds go wild.
There were four dessert tastings on the menu, and I sampled three.
First, “something about chocolate” included a warm chocolate financier drizzled with olive oil, a light chocolate soup called “bubbles”, a chocolate sabayon topped with brown sugar and a smooth silky chocolate ice cream that sat on a bed of feuilletine. Second, “red” consisted of a hibiscus jelly, raspberry bread, a beet sorbet on caramelized cereal and a vanilla parfait with a red wine caramel. Third, “pique nique springtemps” had a small bun with a pomelo and tomato compote, a beer sorbet, a rhubarb panna cotta with crumble and a rhubarb pomelo compote.
All three desserts were of a high caliber—engaging, experimental and artistic. Pastry chef Will Goldfarb does a wonderful job of pushing the dessert envelope. He creates conceptual desserts that have customers think and rethink flavours and techniques. They are desserts that delight and intrigue, that call diners to sample the entire menu.