Spot - Dessert Restaurant
Updated: Jan 20
It’s Thursday, the day after the celebration of my turning 29. It’s cold, and I don’t think I’ve acclimated to it whatsoever yet. Perfect time for a frozen dessert. It was odd, my partner and I are rarely people who get dessert when out, though we both love sweets. I think our general goal when ordering, if anything, is to have leftovers, not room left over. But this particular evening, Sara suggested it, and, as happens rarely, our plates were empty, and we had nothing to take home. Fuck it, why not?
Down in St. Marks, neatly put away in a basement level space, sits Spot, trendy dessert and bubble tea enthusiasts. The wait wasn’t especially long, and can be further shortened by scanning a QR code at the top of the stairs down, then putting your name in, rather than waiting to have it done for you at the bottom of the stairs, which we didn't. Still, I didn’t love the wait, standing on a staircase shoved up on a railing that “clanged” every time the street level restaurant’s front door swung open. When you get about halfway down the stairs, and can peer into the dining room, you quickly notice that this place truly runs at maximum efficiency. They will not accept having their time wasted here. And from what I could tell, that likely wasn’t an option anyway. The constant and steady stream of customers descending the staircase seemed endless, and yet average for them, as it was about 9 p.m. on a weekday.
The line becomes all too clear when you experience Spot. We ordered The Harvest, (layers of berries, soft cheesecake, oreo crumbs, earl grey milk tea served with raspberry sorbet) The Milky Puff, (warm cream puff pastry, brûléed bananas, white chocolate honeycomb, corn flakes, and honey, served with condensed milk ice cream) and two iced honey yuzu teas. Every single thing here was delicious, despite two of the three being Spot’s takes on things I generally wouldn’t ever order. Table service is implemented, with large fast food style signage above the counter for those placing to-go orders. Our order came quickly, which didn’t surprise me after seeing the staff at work. The streamlined workflow, along with the bright, modern, minimalist interior were standout parts of the experience, but the most impressive thing about this place, to me, is the plating. The way these desserts are laid out, each element placed with intention, is simply a joy to look at. Adding to the highly varied textures, each element plays off of one another to create a surprisingly complex flavor profile. These are expensive desserts that are worth every penny.
I’m not from New York City. I probably enjoy a lot less privilege when it comes to food options than people anywhere remotely near the city do, so your mileage may vary. But for me, I fuckin’ loved Spot. The only complaint I can have is that the wait is a little uncomfortable, but that feels unavoidable when you're running a business in a small space like that. The staff was attentive, efficient, and very pleasant. The man working the door and taking reservations was extremely outgoing, managing to strike up casual conversation with nearly every table putting their name in. From the interactive element of one of the dishes, to the plating, and from the plays on texture and flavor to the atmosphere, Spot ticked nearly all the boxes. I would absolutely go a little out of my way for this place, just make sure you get there with the knowledge you’ll probably be waiting a bit.
Disclaimer: This is a shitty screenshot of the menu on their website, I didn't snap a pic of the teas.
Honey Yuzu Tea: Good, good stuff. Like I said, I’m not huge on tea, but this was the most balanced tea, for my personal palette, that I’ve come across. The gentle floral notes, the brightening freshness of the yuzu, (there were cut pieces of pulp and rind mixed in) the well rounded sweetness of the honey, everything just sort of fit for me. It wasn’t overly sweet, which balanced well with the decadent desserts. Extremely refreshing.
The Harvest: I only had one bite of the main dish here, but I did eat all of the raspberry sorbet, which was great. Additionally, the other elements combined with the cheesecake are all things I enjoy, with the small exception of earl grey milk tea, which happened to be Sara’s favorite part. This element was included by actually having a small serving of earl grey milk tea, which is poured into the “soil” to water the plant. This created an interactive element to the dish, which was extremely inventive, once again highlighting the creative plating and planning of the dishes here.
The Milky Puff: I didn’t really know what to expect going into this thing. It’s hard to tell from the menu photo exactly what’s what. By layers, it’s warm cream puff pastry, brûléed bananas, corn flakes, condensed milk ice cream, honey. The white chocolate honeycomb is featured on the side of the dish, propped up against the puff pastry. Awesome dish, I loved it. The standouts to me were the two things I’d never had, the brûléed bananas, and the condensed milk ice cream. The bananas were elevated slightly by a browning with a brûlée torch, that somehow felt, classy? And the ice cream, wow. I’m a major fan of Vietnamese iced coffee, which uses condensed milk, so I anticipated enjoying it, but I was still surprised by it. The whole dish would’ve been brought down with the use of regular vanilla ice cream. The condensed milk, again, feels “classy”. There’s more than one note to the flavor profile of that element now. Each one plays off each other, providing a multitude of textures, different temperatures, and no one thing feels overly sweet. This will easily go down as one of my favorite desserts, ever.