A sweet, multi-coursed memory of unmistakable Michelin-starred refinement.
“Eat dessert” is our life attitude, but “eat dessert first”? That is indeed, pretty extreme. Yet, being dessert-crazy, these Dessert Correspondents have done it before – in New York, and elsewhere (specifically, Melbourne and London). If “eat dessert” is one attitude of life, another is “never miss opportunities,” and so it was, in the midst of some crazy months at work, we read about another dessert bar in New York, leapt to the computer and made a reservation in the blink of an eye. At Tribeca’s Michelin-starred, modern Korean restaurant – Jungsik – a multi-course dessert degustation menu is offered on a nightly basis. The restaurant’s decor is all sleek white, straddling the boundary between sterile yet intimate.
On our visit, a quintet of amuse bouche was followed by the first course – the “Fruitade” – a celadon-like bowl of guava-mangosteen sorbet, delicately set on melon balls and meringue in a moat of sesame-leaf lemonade syrup. The second course was a “Fig Tart” uplifted by an orb of huckleberry-pinot noir sorbet, and wreathed in figs. With the most pronounced flavours, the “Fig Tart” was our favourite sweet irresistible of the evening. Considered signatures of the dessert-only affair at Jungsik, the third and fourth courses do not change with the seasons. Arriving on top of an enormous fruit basket, the “Baby Banana” was a banana re-imagined into dessert form. With thin outer white chocolate shell encasing a centre of banana cremeux and caramel, its luscious banana flavours were offset by the French coffee ice-cream. The fourth course was the “NY Seoul” – essentially, classic French profiterole meets Paris-Brest pastry creation. A snowman-shaped puff pastry sandwiching vanilla bean ice cream, while perched on a field of toasted brown rice and pecan praline. Served in a traditional Korean claypot, the last course – petit fours – featured a trio of Korean and French sweets, including a chocolate truffle, pistachio macaron and traditional Korean yakgwa cake for a honeyed epilogue.
Stressed spelt backwards is desserts. For these Dessert Correspondents, times of stress calls for desserts, and not just any desserts. We aren’t the type to binge-eat, nor even the type to eat a whole slice of cake in one sitting. Our style is to nibble, to taste, to savour, to sample. And in that one time of immense work stress, Jungsik’s dessert bar answered every expectation of these Dessert Correspondents. The desserts at Jungsik are not the overly-saccharine, psychedelically-coloured variety peppering Instagram nowadays. Of a standard increasingly rare in New York, Jungsik’s dessert degustation expressed an unmistakable air of refinement – whisper-soft subtle flavours for the most part, executed with an elegant sweep of dessert artistry. An expensive experience, yes, but such a beautiful memory. And isn’t that – the creation, evocation, and realization of memories – what eating desserts is all about?
Dessert adventure checklist
- ☑ Dessert destination: The Counter at Jungsik, 2 Harrison Street, Tribeca, Manhattan.
- ☑ Budget: $$$-$$$$ (USD $65 pp, plus tax/service).
- ☑ Sweet irresistibles: Dessert degustation.
- ☑ Must-eat: The tart course.
- ☑ The short and sweet story: A sweet, multi-course memory of unmistakable Michelin-starred refinement.