Mon-Fri, 1pm-midnight; Sat, noon-midnight; Sun, noon-11pm
6 at Astor Pl.; L at First Ave.
American Express, Diners Club, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
The petite, perpetually packed dessert bar ChiKaLicious spawned an even smaller takeout annex across the street in 2008. Like at the original, pastry chef Chika Tillman makes the highbrow treats while husband Don runs the business side. As cute as the menu appears—Pudding! Ice cream! Cupcakes!—this is a decidedly haute neighborhood sweet shop. The term “puddin” describes anything from “adult” chocolate cream so dense it can be scooped into a ball over chocolate-streusel crumbs to a rich cake studded with apples. House-made vanilla-bean soft-serve goes into sundaes dusted with pistachios or studded with fresh strawberries. And cupcakes, added by popular demand, demonstrate pastry-whiz techniques with the lightest, creamiest buttercream you can imagine and flavors like caramel and triple chocolate, which has cake piped with ganache filling. Chika even takes a torch to the marshmallow topping on a s’mores cupcake. There’s not much seating, and what’s available is cramped, but every dessert comes sized or contained to work best as a handheld treat.