The Dessert Files: A First Look at Pichet Ong's 'Spot'

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[Photos: Kathy Chan]

My heart was beating so fast when I left Pichet Ong's newly opened East Village dessert shop Spot yesterday evening, I had to find a bench and sit down for a minute. My fault. I had one dessert at Spot, and then another, and then just because we go all out for you, dear reader, one more. And the one more. And a drink to go. Ong's former bakery, Batch, was fun...

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... but Spot is serious. There are those familiar cupcakes from Batch, coupling chocolate with green tea and mocha with caramel, and there are cookies—Chinese walnut, ginger oatmeal raisin to name a few.

But then, there's much more.

Spot offers seating and table service, or you can have your sweets to go. The space is a touch sterile when compared to the deep pink walls and glass chandeliers that outfitted Batch, but the service is welcoming. Cupcakes and cookies are displayed behind the glass cases, and the toppings used for both house ice cream and other desserts are arranged for easy viewing.

My favorite part of the menu are the plated desserts (for eat-in only). At $7 a plate, this is a fair deal, especially in a city where cake slices run $6 and gelato, $5. I began with the Persimmon, pictured at top, which still stands out as the best dessert of the evening. Poached sweet chunks of persimmon top a creamy lush jasmine rice pudding with mascarpone and toasted pistachios. Caramelized tuiles, and white chocolate shavings to finish. Almost too beautiful to eat.

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The Yuzu Eskimo is also another must-have, a tart yuzu ice cream sandwich with an Oreo crust, and coupled with macerated strawberries, passionfruit foam and crumbly chocolate soil. It was quite a sight, especially for one who believes that we eat with our eyes.

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And olive oil makes an appearance with a satisfyingly nutty and mellow white miso semifreddo tucked between cake, akin to a denser version of Japanese castella cake. To complete, raspberries in the form of ice cream and fresh berries. There was a tuile, and I've come across far too many stale restaurant tuiles in my life to recall. So when I am greeted with not only a fresh tuile, but an exceptionally thin, crisp and buttery one, it's all I can do to stop from leaping with joy. I had three plated desserts in one sitting, but let me assure you, one plate is a perfectly normal and decent sized serving.

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Or you could go a simpler route with housemade ice cream (from a Pacojet machine), $3 a scoops or $8 for three scoops. They were out of the Vietnamese Coffee ice cream, so I went with the Ovaltine and side toppings ($.65 each) of red and green Thai jewels. I love the way it was served, ice cream in one bowl, topping in another, and the tiniest wedge of a coconut-chocolate macaron for taste. Smooth, dense, and pure, the ice cream captured Ovaltine to a T. Topping options are abundant and varied: poached pears, nata de coco, huckleberries, caramel flakes, and basil seeds, just to start.

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Also worth noting is a short menu of drinks such as Thai tea, Ovaltine and Pinky milk to go. There's also a menu of housemade sodas, but we'll save that for another story.

Spot

13 St. Marks Place, New York NY 10003 (map) 212-677-5670