Sunday, May 27, 2012

ChikaLicious Dessert Bar

4 comments

New York, NY. Greeted by a few warm and friendly faces with a passion for pastry was how it all began at this deliciously sweet restaurant concept in New York City. My friend brought me to one of his favorite dessert stops that made his acquaintance shortly after his arrival in NYC in the early 2000s. Drawn to the refined taste and elegant approach, ChikaLicious Dessert Bar became a favorite of his - among friends, loved ones, and his newfound comfort in the city itself.


On this night we entered, waited among the crowd, and hoped for a seat at the bar to watch the chefs at work. Chika, co-owner, chef, and a creative mind behind the innovative delicacies, glided around the room with ease and a smile, greeting customers, observing the chefs, and making sure the pace of the evening continued to move forward. My friend had been such a regular customer over the years she brightened up immediately upon recognition and the two had a few moments whilst I observed the room.

The bar sits on the left, high and white, providing a first-hand glimpse at the detailed work that goes into making and plating a quality dessert. Tables line the wall on the right for larger parties or more intimate conversations. The bar seems to be the place to be, as one can watch chefs moving effortlessly  around an open kitchen with skill that comes from their hard work and training under Chika herself. Though secrets behind the recipes complete creation may remain a mystery, the eyes certainly get an eyeful of technique.

Amuse: Watermelon Sorbet
Amuse - The owner advised us to try their Prix Fixe menu and we were easily persuaded. Paired with a sparking wine (Moscato d'Asti, Bricco Quaglia), we went to work on the beautifully and cleanly presented dessert before us: an amuse of a light watermelon sorbet in a simple syrup. Refreshing on the tongue and light to swallow, the delicately sweet amuse was eaten in a few quick bites. It could possibly be duplicated at home but getting it just right, possibly not.

Fig Brulee with Creme Fraiche Sabayon on Vanilla Wafer and Lemonade Sorbet
Fig Brulee with Creme Fraiche Sabayon on Vanilla Wafer and Lemonade Sorbet - It presented 'pretty', with its contrasting colors, but offered a unique difference in taste to a traditional brulee one comes to expect. Only familiar with its pairing with wine and chocolate, the fig offered the contrast with flavor to the smoothness of the creme. The icy sweet cascading from the top of the dish was a fun twist on the tongue that I wouldn't have considered. It appears that is Chef Chika's specialty: to challenge the common with confusion and pair it nicely with class.

Fromage Blanc Island "Cheese Cake"
Fromage Blanc Island "Cheese Cake" - was an alternative cheesecake. It looks nothing like the 'norm' but prepare for that at this eatery. The flavors worked well to create the familiar creamy and slightly tart texture and taste. The white soft cheese was served over ice and glazed with a seasoned heavy cream. I savored each bite until none was left, my mind all the while wondering how I could duplicate such a treat in my own kitchen. I inquired with Chef Chika as to what made such a dish seem so similar but look so different, but was answered with a humorously expressed "mum's the word."  

Petits Fours, Assorted
Petits Fours - were an assorted batch of tiny treats, including a homemade marshmallow dusted in toasted coconut, a chocolate ganache, and a tiny cake with a piped on sample of frosting. An airy end to such a food-road traveled, and though good, my mind kept wandering to the desserts in entirety...

Whether it is to try the famed "Cheese Cake" or a Lime Curd and Honey Parfait Trifle with Marinated Nectarine or a Golden Kiwi Tartare on Crispy Kataifi, it is hard not to be inspired by the curious items presented on the menu. Chikalicious is simply delicious and takes the willing on a journey into the mind of a dessert innovator and her personal style. To watch, to understand, to taste these moments of shared creation is an art of a different accord. The prices are moderate to high, but the experience indubitably stands alone. It is very rare to sit in awe or fascination of food to such a degree, but here, it is made easy. Order, share, and enjoy...it will be hard not to...

If looking for more by Chef Chika, check out:
  • Dessert Club, ChikaLicious in New York, NY
  • ChikaLicious NY, Amarige in Shibuya, Omotesando, Japan

*After we dined, the meal was offered gratis as a 'welcome home' gift from the chef to my friend - a very sweet gift I luckily was able to experience!!*

ChikaLicious Dessert Bar
203 E 10th St
New York, NY 10003
(212) 995-9511
http://www.chikalicious.com

4 Responses so far.

  1. Terence says:

    Absolutely beautiful, lovely and delicious cheese cake.

  2. Andrew Y. says:

    It was tasty indeed! I can't wait to sample more of the menu in my next trip to NYC :-)

  3. Possibly my fave dessert "joint" in all of America. Makes a mockery of LA's sweets scene.

  4. Andrew Y. says:

    @SinoSoul - I've seen and experienced nothing like this to date in LA or anywhere. When I spoke with Chef Chika she had entertained the idea of opening up in LA too, but it wasn't on the table quite yet...fingers crossed... :-)

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