Manhattan, New York – Dessert Club, ChikaLicious

Restaurant: Dessert Club, ChikaLicious
Cuisine:
Desserts/Bakery/Ice Cream
Last visited:
September 12, 2011
Location:
Manhattan, NY (East Village)
Address: 204 E 10th Street
Nearby subway stops: 3 Av
Price Range: 
$10 or less

1Poor 2OK 3Good 4Very good 5Excellent 6Tres Excellent!!

Food: 5 (based on what I tried)
Service: 3
Ambiance: 2,5
Overall: 4.5
Additional comments:

  • Dessert only
  • Local favourite
  • 2 shops
  • Creative/gourmet
  • Home made ice cream/sorbet
  • Very casual
  • Family friendly
  • Limited seating
  • To go dessert
  • Whole cakes available
  • Mon – Thurs 1PM – midnight
  • Friday 1PM – midnight
  • Sat. noon – midnight
  • Sun. noon – 11PM

**Recommendations: Van Custard Cookie Éclair, Éclair Ice Cream Cone and Butterscotch Chronic. The Red Velvet Cupcakes are supposed to be amazing, but I didn’t try those.

It was the tail end of my Follow Me Foodie to New York trip and restaurant selection was becoming more crucial. I didn’t have many dining opportunities left so I had to pick and choose carefully. I had a foodie itinerary for New York that would last me at least a couple months and it was impossible to do them all within the precious 2 weeks I had. Not only that, but my itinerary continued to grow once I got to New York too.

The recommendation for Dessert Club, ChikaLicious actually came from the head chef at Jean-Georges in New York. I know, it’s quite the source for a recommendation. I had the opportunity to chat with him and it turns out he has a major sweet tooth. Well that works out perfectly since I have a major sweet tooth. If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you definitely know that fact already. He was also the one to give me the recommendation for Blue Hill, and one of my favourite restaurants in New York, Peasant, so I was already confident in his suggestions.

I was on my way for lunch at Prune and I decided to make a pit stop at Dessert Club, ChikaLicious. I’ll call it a sweet appetizer or “amuse bouche”. A place called “Dessert Club” was something I had to be a member of.

It turns out the restaurant has 2 locations that are literally right across the street from each other. The ChikaLicious Dessert Bar is the more formal, sit down, after dinner location with fine dining presentation. The Dessert Club, ChikaLicious is the more casual and quick location with desserts available to go. The seating is very limited and it gets really busy at night, so come early or in the afternoon. Some dessert items overlap, but ChikaLicious Dessert Bar has a more impressive menu so I would recommend going there if possible. It wasn’t open when I went, so I missed out.

Just like every dessert place in New York, the cupcakes are a major feature. They looked amazing, but I didn’t come for cupcakes. I actually didn’t know what I came for, but they had a lot of selection. From cookies, macarons, ice cream sandwiches and cakes, I was pretty much in dessert heaven. They’re probably most famous for their Éclair, and I know all the things I listed sound pretty “normal”, but everything was better than it seemed. For example, if the menu read “Vanilla Bean Soft Serve”, it was likely going to be the best Vanilla Bean Soft Serve you’ve ever had in your life.

The pastry chef and co-owner is Chika Tillman, hence the name ChikaLicious. The divey looking location is unassuming and all the desserts are gourmet, made in house with high quality ingredients and at fine dining standards. The prices are also really reasonable for what they’re serving, and if you’re a fan of dessert I wouldn’t miss this hidden gem.

On the table:

**Vanilla Custard Cookie Éclair6/6              

  • $4.95
  • This is one of their signature desserts and most highly raved about items. It’s a must try.
  • It’s not about presentation at Dessert Club, ChikaLicious, so it was served in a disposable hot dog wrapper. If you want real plates you go to ChikaLicious Dessert Bar.
  • I like éclairs, but I never really order them because they’re usually dry with a greasy whipped cream filling.
  • But, if they tasted like this, I’d order them all the time! It’ll change the way you feel about them.
  • It was definitely the best éclair I’ve ever had so far, but it was also a bit different from most.
  • The éclair choux pastry shell was chilled and the custard was piped upon order.
  • The pastry had a sugary baked crumbly meringue like topping that was almost cookie like. It added some crispy texture and it was really tender.

  • The inside was generously filled with home made fresh custard that was bursting with vanilla bean seeds (although you can’t tell in the picture).
  • The topping made it a bit crispy, but the choux pastry was thin, light, airy and a bit flaky with a slight stretch.
  • It wasn’t dry at all and it wasn’t hard either so your teeth just sunk into it.
  • As soon as I bit into it, it oozed out a sweet thick and creamy rich custard with a lovely floral vanilla scent.
  • The whole thing was super moist, but never soggy, and it wasn’t too sweet either.
  • I can’t say it was “just an éclair” because the custard was the best custard and the pastry was the best pastry, so it became even better than what it was.

**Butterscotch Chronic5/6

  • Brown sugar custard with Granny Smith green apple sorbet and frosted pecans $5.95
  • Again, it’s not about presentation at Dessert Club, ChikaLicious, so it was served on a cardboard plate. If you want fancy plates you go to ChikaLicious Dessert Bar.
  • This is another signature dessert and it was highly recommended by the staff. It’s one of the favourites at ChikaLicious Dessert Bar too.
  • It was a play on a caramel coated candy apple, but this was 100x’s better for me since I don’t care much for candy apples unless they’re fresh, handmade and gourmet.
  • The brown sugar custard was maybe the size of a teacup and it was a really small portion, but it was enough.
  • It was a real brown sugar custard and almost like a creme caramel, but it wasn’t as sweet as most caramel, butterscotch, or toffee.
  • It was a creamy, thick, rich, buttery smooth and silky caramel and it was almost like a pannacotta (cooked cream).
  • The custard tasted like melted caramel candies and the ingredients were just super fresh and high quality.
  • The drizzle of syrup over the custard tasted like maple caramel syrup and I could have used less of that, but it went well with the sorbet.
  • The Granny Smith green apple sorbet I was most excited about and it was super fresh, refreshing and tasted like pure apple sorbet.
  • It was nice and tart and a fantastic contrast to the sweeter brown sugar custard.
  • The frosted pecans were also really sweet, but I liked the crunchy texture they added and I wanted more of them.
  • The dessert would have been 6/6 for me if the pecans were cinnamon spiced and the caramel sauce was salted for more of a balance and less sweetness, but that’s my personal tastes.

**Vanilla Bean Soft Serve6/6

  • Cone $3.50 Cup Small $4.50 Large $5.50
  • I love ice cream and it’s my favourite category of desserts out of ice cream, cake, cookies, doughnuts and pie.
  • If you like ice cream as much as me, then you have got to try the soft serve here. AMAZING!
  • Did you see the cone? Definitely get the cone over the cup!
  • They use a homemade éclair for their cones and they fill the whole thing up with ice cream and continue all the way to the top. Brilliant!
  • This was no doubt the best soft serve vanilla bean ice cream I’ve ever had.
  • I love soft serve ice cream, and this was top quality.
  • It was better, less rich and less heavy than Dairy Queen and Big Gay Ice Cream (which I didn’t really like). It was heavier than McDonald’s soft serve, and it didn’t have a greasiness.
  • The ingredients were fresh and good quality so it tasted different than most out there.
  • It was creamy, but not sickly rich and had lots of real vanilla bean flavour.
  • I had the sudden urge to be like Moe from the Simpsons and just put my head under the ice cream dispenser and lay there all day.

The soft serve vanilla bean ice cream is bursting with real vanilla bean seeds!

When you get down to the cone it can get a bit messy, but the ice cream never really leaked out of the éclair or made it soggy. You’ll finish it before it even gets to that point. I’m a fan of ice cream, so the éclair was amazing with it, but it’s also incomparable to the traditional vanilla custard. I’d say try both. It’s apples and oranges and what’s another dessert?

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