Actually, that’s not quite accurate. p*ong has savory courses on its menu too, like a shrimp and mango ceviche ($12), bluefin tuna tartare ($14), or American wagyu carpaccio ($19). A ten-course tasting menu is $59, with six savory and four sweet courses. But it’s for desserts that Pichet Ong made his name, and it’s for desserts that we dropped in.
The specialty cocktails looked interesting, so I gave the Bangkok Margarita ($12) a try. Made with tequilla, pineapple, ginger juice, agave, and aleppo pepper, it packed a hefty punch.
For those who come only for dessert, there’s a three-course tasting for $25, or a five-course tasting that includes cheese for $35. Most of the individual desserts are either $10 or $12. We were a little too full for a dessert tasting menu, but we ordered two of the items featured on that menu, and shared.
Chevre Cheesecake Croquette (left); Malted chocolate Bavarian tart (right)
Chevre Cheesecake Croquette ($10) came with pineapple, a walnut crust, and chocolate-coffee fudge. I lean toward the theory that the basic cheesecake is too perfect to fool around with, but in this case the walnut crust worked perfectly with a wonderful gooey cheesecake.
The Malted Chocolate Bavarian Tart ($12) was topped with carmelized banana and served with Ovaltine ice cream on the side. This was less memorable than the cheesecake, but I’m not a choco-holic, so you can take that with a grain of salt.
We weren’t sure whether petits-fours or the plate they came on were the more interesting attraction, but we appreciated both.
Service seemed a bit rushed to us. There was about a 15-minute wait for a table when we arrived at 10:00 p.m. By the time we were seated, the restaurant was clearing out, so we saw no good reason for the food to come quite as briskly as it did.
We suspect that the rhythm of the place is geared to quick table-turning, as there are West Village rents to pay, with a menu that doesn’t lend itself to large tabs. Still, two desserts and two drinks came to $55.27 including tax (before tip). We’re in our 40s, and we didn’t notice many patrons older than us. Long-term success will depend on drawing in diners who are willing to spend that kind of money on dessert.
We weren’t quite as enamored with p*ong as we were with Room 4 Dessert, but p*ong is plenty of fun. Both the signature cocktails and the desserts warrant more exploration, and I wouldn’t mind giving the savory courses a shot. Make sure to look at a map before you go, as it’s located at one of those West Village intersections where one can easily get lost.
p*ong (150 West 10th Street at Waverley Place, West Village)