Always trust Martha to bring the culinary world of New York to my living room. Not that long ago, she presented a segment on 10th Avenue noshes and ChikaLicious Dessert Bar was included on her two-part tour. Chef owners Don and Chika Tillman present a starkly intimate dessert eatery built around an open kitchen where the chefs and sommelier work and serve the customers directly. Their reasonably priced three-course tasting menu has been described as being American desserts with French presentation and Japanese tasting portions and includes a palate-cleansing amuse, a choice from the varying dessert selection, and a plate of assorted petit fours. Wine matchings are offered, along with organic coffees and teas.
For our visit, we started with a sweetly puckering duo of lemonade sorbet with lemon panna cotta. For our “mains,” we each tried one of their classic desserts: Fromage Blanc Island “Cheese Cake” (pictured above) artfully nestled into a mound of shaved ice; and a Warm Chocolate Tart with Pink Peppercorn Ice Cream and Red Wine Sauce. Both were divinely delicious and proof of the chefs’ skills in presentation, taste and texture. We couldn’t ask for anything more after an exhausting day supporting the local retail economy. And indeed, the petit fours were the proverbial cherry on an otherwise perfect sensory experience: a cube of quivering coconut marshmallow, a mini-wedge of carmelized lemon peel pound cake and a kiss of ganache atop a crisp chocolate wafer took us over the edge and we sailed home on a satisfactory sugar high.
They don’t take reservations, but any wait is worth the experience. And while you’re there, check out the Dessert Club ChikaLicious, their companion bakery directly across the street, for arguably the best cupcake you will find in Manhattan.
ChikaLicious Dessert Bar
203 E. 10th St., between 2nd Ave and 1st Ave.
New York, NY
3pm to 10:45pm.