It was about time an Asian dessert bar popped up in St. Marks. But unlike the boisterous feel of this Manhattan block, the soft golden aura of Spot is a secluded underground escape from the fluorescent wigs and tattoo parlors. Every item on the menu offers a little twist, incorporating foreign ingredients or unique preparation methods. With this, it might be tough to decide what to try, but before you succumb to ordering one of everything, here is our Omakase experience.
For $48, a party of four can enjoy five seasonal tapas, two scoops of ice cream, two homemade cookies, and two cupcakes.
The Chocolate Banana Pudding was a collective thumbs up. Visually delightful and subtle to the taste, the caramel and banana slices complemented the homemade pudding. Varying chocolate flavors was the clear focal point here, with “soil” crumbs and a glittered cocoa crisp accenting this dish.
The Coconut Crema was my personal favorite out of the five, with an assortment of exotic toppings like poached basil seeds and nata de coco. This coconut juice-based jelly plays a subtle but pivotal role in this fruity concoction as the tangy passion-fruit could have easily masked the coconut protagonist. But anyhow, if you’re in the mood for an outlandish parfait, check this one out.
Now, on to the less impressive. This is the Yuzu Eskimo, a cheesecake-textured block with raspberry foam and Oreo crumbs. From the dairy mystery and tarty sorbet to the dizzying chocolate textures, contrasting flavors were mangled together and would leave any eater kind of confused. The goal here seemed to be a deconstructed eskimo pie, but failed in its elaborate attempt to incorporate too many factors and too much for all senses to handle.
Salt, on the other hand, was the single overpowering property that delineates this White Miso Semifreddo, which I’m not sure any dessert-goer would want to be the centerpiece of his or her order. Miso must have been source of this overwhelming brackish quality that hits the eater unexpectedly. Not even the quickly-melting raspberry sorbet could help balance it out.
We saw a similar trend in the Ovaltine & Kabocha Roll – a spiral cross sectional cake made from Ovaltine powder with a side of pureed kabocha and condensed milk ice cream. One bite triggered a distinct childhood memory of those 80s commercials with little kids shouting “More Ovaltine Please!” after a day at the playground. The taste, unfortunately, was just as outdated and dry, clashing against the lukewarm mashed kabocha. One saving grace was the ice cream churned from condensed milk, which is why we were pleasantly surprised when two baseball-sized scoops followed the tapas.
An while we’re on the subject of condensed milk ice cream, indulge in a $5 thai tea float, topping a traditional thai iced tea with a this milky frozen confection. While heavy, it can strangely serve as a palate cleanser for the multifarious flavors and textures each dish presents.
And now a Guest Post from our very own Miss Caroline Lau!
The cupcake, it seems, is resilient. You would think that after exhaustive reinterpretation (at the hands of Magnolia, Crumbs, Buttercup, Sugar Sweet Sunshine, Butter Lane, Sprinkles, Billy’s, and the like), the confection might consider retiring for good. So when presented with the Vanilla Caramel Vietnamese Coffee version at Spot, I shrugged. Another cupcake? Fine.
But one taste reminded me that, in this city, it’s not so much about creating something new, but executing well. Thanks to the interplay between strong coffee and dark chocolate, this cupcake acquires a depth of flavor not to be found in the sugary weights of other cupcake outlets. And perhaps most importantly, while not light by any means, this creation stayed moist and tender to the bite. While I roll my eyes at the cupcake trend, I’ll admit that Spot’s got something special here. That is, of course, if we forget the $2.50 price tag.