In the past couple of years New Yorkers and the ingenious operators of an ever growing number of gourmet food trucks have been entangled in a passionate, yet fleeting, romance. For many reasons – a desire to escape the cold and rain, burdensome city regulations, the allure of bigger projects – many of these plucky entrepreneurs eventually set their sights on “brick and mortar” ventures.
The Dessert Truck, which stole the city’s heart when it hit the streets three years ago – bringing creme brulee and warm chocolate bread pudding to the masses — was one of the first to go legit. They’ve now been ensconced on Clinton Street for about six months, operating a full-fledged pastry shop and cafe.
Recently Dessert Truck Works‘ mastermind, Jerome Chang, told us the time has come to branch out beyond decadent desserts. Along with partners Susana Garcia and Vincent Jaoura, he’s developing new menu items better suited for daytime consumption: light pastries, sweet snacks and a variety of coffees and teas.
Jerome says business is usually strong in the evenings. The shop was, of course, mobbed when they gave away free desserts one day last month. But Jerome freely admits he might have under-estimated the challenges in making the transition to a storefront on the Lower East Side.
The Dessert Truck was strategically located near NYU — where high foot traffic from ravenous college students helped make the business an instant hit. But Jerome says the truck was never the point. All along, his passion was to make gourmet desserts – the kind you usually only see in the city’s most expensive restaurants – accessible to all.
Most of the offerings at Dessert Truck Works cost $6 (as opposed to, say, the $14 you’ll pay for the chocolate mousse at Per Se). But Jerome also wanted to remove some of the pretension from high-end sweets. A graduate of the French Culinary Institute and (like his partners) an alum of Le Cirque’s pastry kitchen, he says all too often how a dessert looked was more important than how it tasted.
DT Works’ creations are definitely not mundane. You can have your chocolate bread pudding with bacon custard sauce. The warm molten chocolate cake is served with an olive oil grenache center and roasted pistachios. But Jerome says some of the simplest desserts are his favorites. Right now he’s especially fond of the “Boom Boom Berry” (summer berry sorbet, whipped creme fraiche, strawberries and rhubarb juice). A certain Lo-Down co-editor (hint: not me) goes crazy for the warm brioche donut holes with nutella filling.
While Jerome and Company are finding their place in the neighborhood, they haven’t dispensed with the dessert truck altogether. It still’s available for special events and parties.
The new menu items will debut in a few weeks. DT Works is located at 6 Clinton Street. They’re open 11am to 11pm (midnight on weekends).