A Potted Plant Dessert: The Harvest at Spot Dessert Bar
When the new Harvest ($8.95) dessert from Spot Dessert Bar's new fall menu arrives at your table, your first thought will most certainly be that it looks just like a freshly potted plant. And in a way it is. The leafy green stalk sticking out of the flower-pot-shaped bowl is a real mint stem (you don't have to eat it). The dark brown "soil" actually supports the plant, just as real soil would. However, unlike the mint, you really should eat the soil since it's made from a cocoa cookie crumble. But not just yet. First, your server has to complete the elaborate table-side theater of plating the Harvest.
In addition to the plant container, a second, more traditional looking serving dish is also brought out. The plate contains a small porcelain decanter, a swirl of raspberry foam and a quenelle of dark red raspberry sorbet. After removing the mint stalk with a pair of wooden tongs, the server "un-pots" the plant by turning it upside down over the raspberry swirl.
The dark brown cocoa cookie crumble makes a neat circle around the red berry shortcake that's been revealed from inside the pot. The black rose tea-flavored anglaise sauce is poured--from a great height for dramatic effect—over the cake. The complete plated dessert looks a bit like a miniature pink volcano with white lava running out of it.
The shortcake is very moist, almost wet, and has a mild, natural, berry flavor. Both the cake and the anglaise sauce are much less sweet than expected—a strength shared by many of Spot's desserts. The cocoa cookie crumble is crunchy and satisfying, like a gussied up Carvel crumble, and a good complement to the soft cake. Finally, the raspberry sorbet has the strongest, most pronounced flavor on the plate.
With the Harvest Dessert, Spot's Pasty Chef, Ian Kittichai, who has overseen the menu at Spot for the last two years, has succeeded in creating a fun and whimsical dessert experience. In terms of taste, I prefer Spot's Golden Toast (available all year around) over the harvest--but it's not nearly as much fun.
I suggest visiting Spot's woody underground shop with some friends on a cool fall or winter night and splitting a few of their specialty desserts. Besides the Harvest and the Golden Toast I recommend the new Big Apple dessert, or on the comfort-side, the new Peach Crumble. First time visitors should try the Green Tea Lava Cake. For hot drinks I like the hot matcha latte.