You’ve probably noticed that truffle oil is all the rage right now. It’s finding its way into your favorite snacks, it goes pretty damn well with pasta, and it smells like sophistication and class. But how about using truffle oil in dessert? Spot Dessert Bar, the hip yet cozy brainchild of Chef Ian Kittichai, has already revolutionized the sweets game by creating award-winning desserts and fusing Asian and American flavors together. Now, as part of Spot’s fall menu, Kittichai has created the “Black Truffle,” a creamy parfait perfumed with truffle oil and covered in chocolate cookie crumbs. I recently made a trip down St. Marks place to review this strangely appealing combination for myself.
What the hell is it?
To provide a bit of background, the official menu reads:
BLACK TRUFFLE: truffle parfait, hazelnut dacquoise, vanilla tuile, almond crumble, apricot sauce.
The mix between savory, sweet, and sour was promising upon first read, and the fact that I had no clue what a dacquoise or tuile was made the entire dish seem über fancy and, quite honestly, appetizing. It turns out that tuile are thin, wafer-like crumbs and dacquoise is a nut/meringue filling.
Now to the actual review…
The main attraction mimics the appearance of an actual truffle: dark, round, and abnormally earthy. Surrounding the parfait are tuille, tan crumbs, mint leaves, and small droplets of apricot sauce. The plate covers a wide range of colors and is not obnoxiously bright or dull, but almost pastel. The mint leaves, however, were arguably out of place. Perhaps it was added to reinforce the earthiness of the ingredients (yay for truffles and mint being products of mother nature!), but it didn’t have any significant meaning. Overall, the presentation wasn’t up to par with some of Spot’s true masterpieces, but it was still a solid plate nonetheless.
Upon first bite, the texture reminded me of a more solid ice cream. The truffle oil came through moments later and was in no way overbearing, complimenting the faint sweetness of the cream while adding a mildly salty flavor. The surrounding components worked in tandem to contradict the smoothness of the parfait. Every so often, my taste buds craved relief from the richness of the oil and the cream, and the apricot sauce provided just that. My only qualm with the sauce was that I wish there was more of it, to make the truffle-to-sauce ratio a bit more even. The dacquoise was in the center of the truffle, adding another nutty, crunchy dimension without too much sweetness.
While it may not be one of their best desserts, Spot Dessert Bar’s “Black Truffle” takes sweets to a whole new territory with its use of truffle oil. Someone new to Spot shouldn’t start out with this bold menu choice, but the usual guests will likely welcome this savory dessert with open arms. It’s a culinary experience you simply can’t miss – though trying it once will suffice.