Room 4 Dessert on Cleveland Place
Well, Lambrusco is not Lambrusco. (By the way Lambrusco is the name of the GRAPE - not 'a type of wine'.) Authentic Lambrusco is DRY because it is consumed WITH food in Emilia/Italy, the area of production. The one that's served at Room 4 Dessert is called 'SOLO' and one of the single vineyard Lambruscos made by the winery 'Medici Ermete'. I found this site that actually lists the names of some restaurants that have Medici Ermete Lambruscos on their wine list: http://www.vinofrizzante.com
I have to say that I went last week and was impressed. We arrived on a friday evening at about 10pm and were seated right away. The chefs behind the bar were cordial- not super friendly but not rude either like some have said. Service was prompt and the desserts were delcious. That said, if your idea of a good dessert is overly gooey, extremely sweet and nauseatingly rich, then this is not the place for you. But if I wanted dessert like that I'd go to the cheesecake factory or grab some Ben & jerry's. I had the chocolate plate which had some interesting flavors and textures. My boyfriend had a tasting plate that had a pistachio cake and other nutty & fruity flavors. I would agree that the layout makes it more suited to couples rather than large groups. It was an interesting experience, not somewhere I'd go all the time but definately worthwhile. I will be returing in the Fall to see what kind of seasonal treats they come up with!
I like Chikalicious better than Room 4 Dessert. I think their desserts are a little more creative and inspired. Also, it's a great "date" place...cozy space, good lighting, quiet enough to talk...but you can always default to watching all the interesting things the chefs are doing.
While the things i had at Room 4 Dessert were all yummy, they were ordinary things like brioche w/nutella and ice-cream. Yes, they were more fresh and tasty than what you can get at the grocery store...but not that much more interesting. plus, the space is so narrow...I felt like the chef was eavesdropping on our conversation...in fact, we felt obligated to keep talking to the chef b/c he kept standing in front of us/watching us.
I haven't tried WD-50 yet (after reading about it i definitely will), but another suggestion is Bolo. They have a really delicious dessert tapas menu (3 for $11) which was so great. you can just sit at the bar and order it if you don't want dinner.
I went there twice in one week. A Friday night, where I was delayed by a cooking class with David Bouley (couldn't postpone the reservation - "Sorry David, can you hold on for a sec, I need to make a phone call"). They very generously squeezed us in though we were nearly 40 minutes late for our reservation, and it was very crowded. The second, the following Tuesday, was not as busy (though it did pick up around 9:30), and we were on-time for our reservation that time. Both times the staff, including Chef Goldfarb, were very friendly and accommodating, and I was never interrupted for not "getting" the food. WHile some of his desserts work better than others, he's trying out different ideas that may suit his and his co-worker's palates - I personally loved the tomato sandwich, which my wife found grotesque. Same the beet ice cream (sorbet?). However, I found the beer foam to be a bit *too* bitter, though my wife loved it. And I wasn't wowed by the mango gnocchi, but my friend's couldn't stop raving about them. So it's all a matter of taste, just as is any restaurant. And if you're afraid of experimentation, the chocolate tasting menu is fairly straight-forward and outstanding. I didn't things were to "scientific" in nature, and I enjoy the wine list immensely. (I never knew that Lambrusco was available as a sparkler, let alone the fact that any Lambrusco was remotely palatable. Theirs was quite enjoyable.) As for the room - I liked it as Bar Veloce, and I like it as R4D. It's not a place you should go to with more than one other person, but that makes it a perfect date place or somewhere to go after dinner with a friend.
I'm on the verge of getting very off-topic, so I'll just say service - good; wine - good; desserts - GOOOD. The desserts are $12 (or $9 for the glasses) and it's not a huge financial burden if you don't like it.
And if Chef Goldfarb is still reading this thread, is the summer menu out yet? If so, what can we expect to find?
i hope next week/monday but you can call to confirm or request email alert which i have been trying to provide;
we have been very busy working on some large parties the last two weeks
lots and lots of fresh fruit and dairy coming from the new market at petrosino square, peaches, cherries, tristar strawberries, fennel, corn, farm eggs with actual yellows
thematically, "interesting," satisfying (hopefully)
and a new concept for savory petits fours/"taplas"
thanks again for all the feedback
we appreciate your comments
i appreciate all of the feedback
though i am concerned that some of your readers may have been less than satisfied
please feel free to pass through with a complimentary dessert from me
we have been working very hard to take care of as many people as possible, but perhaps we havent made sure that everyone's experience was as special as we hope
thanks for the criticism and encouragement
Everyone is free to like it or not. I appreciate the effort that they are doing to bring something new and exciting to the dining scene. The menu at Room 4 Dessert looked well balanced to me and changes every season, they use avant-garde techniques to produce things like mango gnocchi for example, but they also stick to the basic when they have to produce something like a chocolate cake or chocolate ice cream. The menu showcases well the modern and the classic and perhaps will appeal to a wider audience than WD-50. I just think it's the kind of place that ,at least, deserves a few tries.
From the big article in the New Yorker on this place, it seems like the dessert version of WD-50, where I feel like I'm eating a high-school chemistry experiment rather than a satisfying dinner. The emphisis seems to be on "look what I can accomplish" and less on "wow, this is really delicious!"
I have to disagree with some of the comments on this blog. I find Room 4 Dessert a great dessert experience. It's definetly not the place to go if you are looking for a slice of cheesecake, but if you want something more sophisticated and interesting it doesn't get any better than this. I found the staff extremely friendly and knowledgeable. The dessert while different from what's out there, were all very delicious and well presented .Also, to be able to watch the chef preparing it was a real treat. The dessert bar is a new niche in the restaurant business indeed, not for everyone probably, a few weeks ago, Bill Buford wrote a whole feature about Room 4 Dessert in the New Yorker, i would recommend anyone to read that piece, maybe to better understand where they coming from, and what they are trying to achieve. In the meantime, i cannot wait to return to experience some more of Will Goldfarb's creations.
I went last week and had the Red, which was an assortment of red-themed items (raspberry merangue freeze-dried like astronaut ice cream;a little flan-ish thing; beet ice cream). It was good, but Goldfarb can be confrontational, bordering on belligerent in his manner. Another friend went on a date there the next week and the waitstaff kept interrupting their conversation about what they were eating to inform them how they didn't understand the food. And the seats aren't comfortable. It seems to be a place set-up for someone's benefit, unfortunately not for the customer's benefit.
the experience is an interesting one, but i wouldn't say necessarily a satisfying one. because it's such a different approach to dessert, you're not going to necessarily walk out of there with the same feeling you would having eaten one of your favorite typical desserts. but i would definitely go back a second time to try something again.
i had the plat du jour, which was nolitela (a homemade kind of nutella, more hazelnutty tasting and not as rich), caramel ice cream, bricohe and a cloud, which was a kind of lemon ice cream/sorbet in a foamy texture. the flavors were all very subtle, yet tasty. but in general i wasn't so impressed with any of these items. the best part of the experience is watching the chefs, and goldfarb himself, make the desserts right in front of you.
i would recommend trying the voyage to india and the chocobubbles.
i split my dessert sampling with another person and it was fine. nothing is very filling so you could get a dessert sampling all to yourself if you want. teh dessert glasses would also be good for one person or for sharing.
the latte i had was also pretty good. very parisian and strong, no sugar necessary!
After some hype from another website, I was really unimpressed with Room 4 Dessert.
For a place that makes dessert the focus, nothing stood out. Split two sampling menus and we were happy(impressed) with one item.
I did not like the set up either and this is a common complaint regarding the place.
My suggestion: spend the extra $ and go to WD-50.
A very cramped bar that is not good for sharing or for conversations in groups of 2+. The service was rather lousy as well.
Desserts had were the "Voyage to India", and "Infance". Nothing really stood out and all I can remember is the "Lucky Charms" tasted like stale lucky charms.
The presentation was rather poor as well. Not saying it was bad, but when you specialize in Dessert and that is all you; it should be outstanding, not subpar.