HOME > Chowhound > Manhattan >

Discussion

I wimped out at Spot Dessert Bar (East Village).

Went to Spot Dessert Bar after a performance at PS 122 last night. Had a delicious mocha-salted caramel cupcake, but I was somewhat intimidated by the more "creative" desserts. The combination of flavors -- such as the jasmine rice pudding with mascarpone, persimmon, pistachio, chocolate, chile and saffron -- just seemed too bizarre. Am I missing something? I would like to hear other people's views of Spot. Also, how does it compare to other dessert places nearby, like Chickalicious or Momofuku?

-----
Spot Dessert Bar
13 St Marks Pl, New York, NY 10003

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
  1. You'll find the other two, Chika, and Momo are more straight forward. The Milk Bar uses exotic flavor profiles, and textures to replicate fairly standard desserts. It's known for being hit or miss, and on the sweeter side. Chikalicious is a little creamier to my taste, and a little more refined, but less exotic. Spot obviously has that other side of the menu with more complex pairings, and a more sit down atmosphere. I find Spot to be a on the fluffy side, and it rarely takes care of any cravings.

    Using spices, and exotic or even savory ingredients has been the trend for a while. Pistachio and Saffron are really common in ice creams, and chile in hot cocoa is a standard flavor, for example. They all work really, really nicely and aren't always as pronounced in the flavor profile as you expect. If you don't like Jasmine, you're not going to like it in ice cream or rice pudding though....if you really like pistachios you might love them paired with something unexpected. If the descriptions horrified you instead of exciting you immediately, then don't force it. Maybe you like the classic flavor combos. They're classics for a reason. Many of us are looking for the new, and to get surprised. Sometimes you get stuck with something that tastes like a bar of soap. Sometimes it changes your life.

    It's obviously people trying hard to get inventive. Kind of like the mocha salted caramel you had, which is a very current flavor, but not that long ago, nobody would have used, or advertised the topping on a cupcake was salted.

    Think of it the same way you approach attending performances at PS 122.

    2 Replies
    1. re: sugartoof

      Interesting post. I have yet to try Spot, but I'm interested.

      I find Milk Bar not only on the sweet side, but also sometimes overly on the salty side. Lately, I've been disappointed with their ice cream. I wish they would bring back their rosemary flavor, which is by far the best I've ever had there. I was unhappy with the saltiness in their black sesame flavor and actually preferred Chinatown Ice Cream Factory's version.

      1. re: Pan

        Agree completely on Milk Bar being far too salty.

    2. I've been to Spot three times and found each experience to be very, very positive - however I do love Asian desserts in general and am familiar with most of the flavors. Yuzu eskimo is the one that I remember the most. Condensed milk ice cream float w/ hot Thai tea was another favorite. I've also found their cupcakes to be surprisingly good as well. I think the place is more like Kyotofu than Milk Bar or Chikalicious.

      11 Replies
      1. re: uwsister

        So if I found Kyotofu underwhelming, would you recommend that I stay away from Spot? I found the desserts mostly a bit weird-tasting at Kyotofu, from all the tofu, and only slightly sweet, and I also considered them overpriced.

        1. re: Pan

          I wouldn't necessarily say so. I love both so it's hard for me to say, but Spot has a lot more variety. Baked goods, variety of ice cream with different toppings, beverage, etc. It's definitely not tofu-centered. I think they are similar in a way that their sweetness is subtle (in most dishes - Spot's cupcakes are definitely almost American-sweet, IMO) but if you don't mind that - it's worth a shot.

          Go at off hours though - due to the location (St. Marks) it can be mobbed and that always negates from the experience.

          1. re: Pan

            I feel the same way about Kyotofu but like Spot (though I've only ordered a few things to go). So I would definitely give it a go.

            -----
            Kyotofu
            144 W 18th St, New York, NY 10011

            1. re: Miss Needle

              Hmm. Maybe I should take back the comparison to Kyotofu 'cause I don't want to turn anyone off of Spot! It's a fun, Asian-themed dessert place w/ lots of different flavors. Kyotofu is definitely more muted.

              1. re: uwsister

                Thanks, you two. I will report back after I have a chance to go to Spot.

                1. re: Pan

                  Here's a quick report:

                  My girlfriend and went late tonight. We were still pretty full from dinner (at Xian Famous Foods), so we just got two bubble teas - I got lychee matcha and she got black milk tea - and shared a chocolate green tea fruit cupcake. Everything was very good. The lychee flavor was far superior to what I usually get (and like) at Saint's Alp and Teariffic, and the cupcake was excellent - very high-quality apricot jam throughout much of the interior, nicely subtle green tea icing, pleasant chocolate pearls on top, and good chocolate cake base. We were impressed and will definitely be back for more. Post script from my girlfriend: She liked the black milk tea but prefers it at Saint's Alp. We didn't realize the bubble teas were automatically cold at Spot, and she prefers that flavor hot.

                2. re: uwsister

                  I don't think of Spot as an Asian bakery so much. It seems like more of an accent to me than at Kyotofu.

                  -----
                  Kyotofu
                  144 W 18th St, New York, NY 10011

                  1. re: sugartoof

                    I'm a little confused - 'cause I definitely think of Spot as an Asian-themed place but not a bakery.

                    1. re: uwsister

                      I think that suggests everything is made with light spongey cake or that they're making what might be called "Asian style" desserts, doesn't it?

                      When Spot makes a poundcake, sorbet, fruit, syrup dish it's a pretty standard one. There's certainly an Asian theme to some selected ingredients, in that they're using miso and yuzu (though so are a lot of pastry chefs), and have a green tea themed cupcake, and of course, the Asian influence of the Chef....but that's about it. I almost started to type the word "fusion" at some point in there.

              2. re: Pan

                I had the exact same impression of Kyotofu... not that it's particularly relevant to this thread! I don't get the hullabaloo over Milk Bar. I think it's inventive and I've had some good things, but nothing has knocked my socks off- including the crack pie. The Momofuku pork bun, however, never ever fails to satisfy.
                I have never even heard of "Spot"- I will have to check it out.

                -----
                Kyotofu
                144 W 18th St, New York, NY 10011

                1. re: Pan

                  I think that you should definatly try out Spot. I found their baked goods yummy and you must try the ice creams!!!! My favorite was the Vietnamese Coffee and the Condensed Milk flavors!!! As for the tapas, although some are for a more "adventurous" palate, they all come together and work :)

              3. For my parents 50th anniversary this summer, we spent a great food day in the city capped off by dinner at Per Se. As my own aging mind looks back on that day, the highlight for me was Spot. We shared a couple of tastings and we each found a favorite. It didn't hurt that just beforehand we shared a couple of bowls of noodles and some veggies at Momofuku Noodle Bar and then more than a couple of lamb sandwiches and more noodles at Xi'an. But if I could eat anything again, it would be those desserts at Spot. .