Friday, July 22, 2005

Just Desserts 13: ChikaLicious

RESTAURANT: ChikaLicious
LOCATION: 203 E 10th St.
DATE: July 17, 2005
DESSERT: Amuse – Caramel Gelee with Apricot Sorbet; Dessert – Warm Chocolate Tart with Pink Peppercorn Ice Cream and Red Wine Sauce; Petit Fours – Banana Cake; Lemon Espresso Chocolate; Coconut Marshmallow
PRICE: $16.00

A letter to Don and Chika Tillman, owners of ChikaLicious, a dessert bar in the East village that in actuality will never be sent, but which makes for a more interesting review than the usual formulaic stuff Rockefeller churns out, or if it doesn’t quite fit the level of “interesting” is at least a little less mundane…

Dear Don and Chika-

Don, I don’t know how proprietary you are, and I hope I’m not stepping on any toes by saying this, but you got one hell of a chica there in Chika (I’m sure I’m not the first to make this rather regrettable pun). Her desserts are outrageously delicious. Honestly, how have you not gained 200 pounds living with her? If I were you (which I think we’re both happy I’m not), I’d just pull a stool up at the bar every afternoon starting at three and eat my way through the entire menu. I mean, I’m sure it’s nice working with your wife and waiting on your devoted clientele, but wouldn’t it be better to just indulge your sweet tooth day after day? Maybe I’m just a glutton, but that’s what I’d do. I mean Chika worked at Gramercy Tavern for god’s sake, she knows what she’s doing.

Chika, wow, you’re amazing. I’ve dined at ChikaLicious twice now (though I’ve come and left when the wait has been too long at five other times as well) and both times were unforgettable. This visit I had the warm chocolate tart. I loved the way you contrasted the abrasiveness of the peppercorns with the sweetness of the ice cream. Your creativity is commendable to say the least. The red wine sauce was also an elegant companion to the richness of the chocolate and I wish more restaurants would use this type of saucing in their desserts. The best of the petit fours, in my opinion, was the banana cake. The only problem was it tasted so delightful, I wanted it to be another full course of dessert rather than a tiny sampling. But that’s not really your fault now is it? Well I mean, it is, but only in the good sense of fault. Libby had the cherry soup (what I ordered on my first visit) and such an innovative and silky dessert can be had at few other places. The cornbread accompaniment provided a beautiful compliment of substantiality to pair with the soup’s delicacy. Libby loved it.

So yeah, I know this letter has been a bit rambling, but I just wanted to thank you for keeping on doing what you’re doing. ChikaLicious is like no other place in New York. I love sitting at the bar and watching Chika prepare the desserts. It feels like I’m in my mom’s or aunt’s kitchen, impatiently awaiting the culinary pleasure to come. ChikaLicious is like having a gourmet chef prepare dessert for you in your own home. So thank you. When I return to New York, I can promise I’ll be returning to ChikaLicious.

Sweetly yours,

RATING: 8.5/10

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