Shortly before New Year’s, my mom and I took a trip to Spot Dessert Bar on St. Mark’s place in NYC. I went to Spot for the first time a year ago. At that time, Pichet Ong (who shares my alma mater) was the chef. Pichet was also the chef behind two other New York establishments, Village Tart and P*ONG. He left a few months ago and Chef Ian Kittichai is now at the helm.
Spot is located on St. Mark’s Place, which, if you’re not familiar with famous NYC streets, is a bustling stretch filled with shops, outdoor vendors, tattoo parlors, restaurants and more. Spot is a quiet litte respite located down a flight of stairs, away from the frenzy. Spot offers mainstream desserts like cupcakes and cheesecake along with elaborate plated desserts, all with an Asian twist. There is plenty of yuzu, green tea, and miso throughout the menu.
The Chocolate Green Tea Lava with green tea-white chocolate ganache and green tea ice cream was a hands down homerun. We weren’t even planning on ordering this, but while surveying our options at the counter, I spotted one of the employees prepping this plate. I inquired and he said that this was the most popular dessert on the menu. I’m usually wary of chocolate lava cakes. They often are piping hot but with a slightly stale texture from being zapped in the microwave right before serving. The staff was adamant, however, that everyone who tries this likes it. Like it we did. In fact, we were blown away. The cake was warm, with a luxurious velvety texture. When we broke into the cake, a warm green tea ganache came flowing out onto the plate, quite literally like lava. Next to the cake sat a ball of silky green tea ice cream. The warm lava melted and mixed with the ice cream as well as the walnut soil and green tea powder that also adorned the plate. It was rich, but modestly sweet, taking advantage of the concentrated green tea flavor.
While the lava cake was a last minute choice, we knew well in advance that we wanted to try the Smoked Coconut Cheesecake with young coconut flesh, Oreo crumbs, and white chocolate shavings. The cake had a strong smoky flavor with undertones of coconut. It was a welcome change from standard dense and sweet cheesecakes. The smokiness gave it a nice savory character. The oreo crust was a good choice, as its dark cocoa flavor stood up nicely to the smokiness.
Like the cheesecake, I decided ahead of time that I wanted the Vietnamese Coffee cupcake. This was a moist chocolate cake filled with a dollop of caramel and topped with a very generous helping of coffee buttercream. The frosting, like Vietnamese coffee, was sweet with an intense coffee flavor. I ended up leaving a bit of the frosting behind. While it was marvelous, it was very rich and a little went a long way. When ordering, we also decided on the Banana & White Chocolate- a chocolate cupcake with slices of fresh banana baked into it. Atop it sat a white chocolate cream cheese frosting. The frosting was just as decadent and well-flavored as the coffee. The banana slices in the cupcake became slightly chewy after being baked and added nice textural variation.
There is so much more I want to go back and try: the Thai Tea Creme Brulee and the Kabocha Brulee Cake. The standard chocolate chip cookies looked fabulous, plain or used in an ice cream sandwiches. If you find yourself in the East Village, Spot is definitely worth a visit for a sweet treat. If you can, take a seat and enjoy one of the wildly creative plated desserts.
Spot Dessert Bar
13 St. Mark’s Place
New York, NY