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The Early Word at Pichet Ong's Dessert Bar, Spot

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Just over a month ago, downtown dessert maven Pichet Ong opened Spot, his latest venture located on the ever crowded Saint Mark's Place restaurant row. In addition to offering to-go options such as cupcakes and cookies, Spot features a menu of more fully formed, plated desserts. The early word has been pouring in over the last month, with the only reservation being a few service issues. Ong has already proved he knows how to make desserts, but only time will tell if he can work out some of the early kinks. On to the Good, the Bad and the amazing cupcakes:

The Fantastic News: This Yelper pens a rave, loving everything across the board: "I really liked the decor of this place...reminded me of a little clubhouse with its cute little windows and the green turf that lined the entrance...I just tried their desserts (3 for 18$) The soft cheesecake, the yuzu eskimo and the vietanamese coffee icecream. I am not a fan of foam, just cause there's no substance and the texture kind of gives me the chills. But Spot didn't overly use it, and if so it was not overwhelming. The desserts were innovative....a lot of exotic and tropical selections including jackfruit, vietnamese coffee, and yuzu flavors. This Spot is what St. Marks lacked and I can see it becoming a very very popular place among the other novelty foods on this block now that the dessert cart is gone!" [Yelp]

The Mostly Good News: Despite the mind boggling fact that the "warm chocolate cake" was not served warm, Dessert Buzz finds a lot to like: "On trip #3 to Spot I brought a friend, a bike racer, who had some extra calories to spare. We got the Yuzu Eskimo Oreo and a warm chocolate cake. The Yuzu Eskimo reminded me of a Carvel ice cream cake from my youth with “crunch” but with a few very big differences: 1) The yuzu ice cream is much less sweet than Carvel’s soft serve 2) the spot dessert featured passion fruit foam on the side (also very tart) 3) it had fresh cut strawberries and 4) It didn’t have Tom Carvel promoting it on TV. We both liked it. The warm chocolate cake had a very nice dark chocolate flavor and was not too sweet. I really liked it. It had a couple of poached pears and some dark chocolate sauce on the side too. So far, this has been my favorite plated dessert from Spot. My only complaint about the warm chocolate cake was that is was not served warm for some reason." [DB]

The Good News: The Martini Boys don't discuss many of the desserts, but they go gaga over the madeleines: The first sign that Spot Dessert Bar is going to deliver a worthy product is the fact that you can smell it before you see it. And that product is cookies, and in particular, Madeleines. Ong’s Asian dessert café, which opened Wednesday, doles out some of the best Madeleines in the area. You might remember the dessert impresario through his P*ong and his bakery Batch, which were both shuttered earlier this year. Completely underwhelming places, but the chef himself is much-loved, with a huge following in these parts. He has now re-entered the game with his little subterranean café, that may or may not look like a homeless shelter (we hear things have been done to the exterior, like adding fake grass. Yes. That should do the trick). Thai coffee pudding is a better bet over the mocha and green tea cupcakes, and don’t miss the various ice cream flavors topped with caramelized rice crispies. [MB]

The Horrible News: Though thoughts on the food might have been ruined by service problems, this Yelper certainly won't be going back: "I was super excited to try Spot. I loved the decor and thought I found my new dessert place...until the dessert/coffee came. First, the waitress spilled a whole cup of coffee on my husband...some splashing on me. After cleaning ourselves up, i dove into my dessert. It wasn't tasty, small portions, and over priced!! When we got the bill, I noticed we weren't even comped a drink, or given a discount, or offered to cover any dry cleaning expenses. This Spot sucks!!" [Yelp]

The Great News: Serious Eats gets on the blog to report that most of the dishes they tried were successes: "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. 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. Also worth noting is a short menu of drinks such as Thai tea, Ovaltine and Pinky milk to go." [SE]
—Matt Duckor


13 Saint Marks Place, New York, NY