Tuesday, September 16, 2008


I fell in love with ChikaLicious, a cute three-course dessert joint in the East Village in NYC, ever since my friend brought me there years ago. It was such a unique concept, the first of its kind in the city (before Room 4 Dessert - now close, P*ong, and Kyotofu). I love ChikaLicious because the decor is so simple, low key and modern, and the desserts are inventive, yummy and served on such cute china. Now I share this love with others. So when my friend from Dublin was in town, we had to go there. And did I say "love" enough number of times?

The best seats in the house are at the bar, where you get to watch Chika, one of the owners and the dessert master, prepare your plates with such grace and precision. My latest visit was more fascinating than usual because I went during the day. It was a totally new experience not only because it was less busy (no wait like on weekends), but also because I got to watch marshmallows being prepped!

Above, Chika preparing my "Adult Chocolate"

Usually, I order my dessert with wine pairing when I go at night (they do a perfect wine pairing; this was where I discovered Quady Essensia). This time, I had some tea with my friend since we did not want to look like alcoholics - it was only 3pm. So, Chika started us off with a sorbet (oops! forgot what flavor it was) resting in a small pond of gelee to clean our palates.

Above, the first course Sorbet (forgot the flavor) on Gelee

Then came my "Adult Chocolate" plate. I found the name so intriguing that I had to ask Don, Chika's husband (who runs the place), what it meant when I was scanning the menu. He replied "it's made of bitter valrhona chocolate..." with a pleasant smile. Then it clicked in my head...it's not meant for children! I found it funny and ordered it of course.

We also had some fun with Don by asking for one item with the most carbs on the menu for my friend (hey, she's on vacation!). He suggested his unique customer the Cherry Soup, which is accompanied by shortcake. My friend didn't like cherries, but she was a big fan of the Cherry Soup.

Above, my second course, the Adult Chocolate

Our third course was Petit Fours of marshmallows, pastries similar to cream puffs, and chocolate truffles. On other occasions I have had black pepper shortbread in place of the cream puffs. All are equally good. The marshmallows, like everything else, is homemade - light as air and finished with a bit of richness from the toasted coconut flakes. The tiny cream puffs were rich (the cream was superb), but just right because of their size. And finally, the truffles were nice and intense, although I would prefer a less crunchy/tough exterior.

Above, the third and final course - Petit Fours

Other times I have had their Fromage Blanc Island "Cheese Cake" (this is not your ordinary cheesecake - being a cheesecake fan, I wasn't crazy about the lack of cream cheese flavor in Chikalicious' version, but the texture was very nice and soft, and the presentation of it over a bed of ice and floating on cream like an island made me speechless), Chocolate Soup with Carmelized Bananas (perfect on a winter night), and Warm Chocolate Tart with Pink Peppercorn Ice Cream and Red Wine Sauce (it comes hot and watching them bake it was so neat!).

Chikalicious is like a factory of edible unique art...where else can you watch your delicate dessert made into art and get to eat it too? I would say this is a place for indulgence of the eyes and taste buds. Oh, it is also a place meant for you to indulge but not over indulge, so don't expect to come out feeling full!

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