One banana. One Twinkie. Whipped cream. All stuffed in a sweet, buttery crepe and smothered in Nutella. This, my friends, is the Heart Breaker. A swirl of creamy vanilla, chocolate hazelnut, and fresh banana in one bite—your heart might actually break, and this is just dessert.
Just Sweet Dessert House, a few blocks away from Union Square and only a few steps away from both New School and NYU dorms, is located on the corner of 12th Street and 3rd Ave. Adorned with bright and colorful letters spelling out “Just Sweet,” Just Sweet Dessert House stands out among the various surrounding shops. With roomy outdoor seating, a prime spot in Manhattan’s East Village, and a collaborative menu filled with Asian infused dishes ranging from savory dumplings to sweet crepes, Just Sweet Dessert House is a great spot to sit and have a bite or grab a bubble tea on the go!
I took my trip to the “house” after a long day of classes, no sleep, and no lunch. I made my way to the lovely east end of downtown Manhattan and was greeted with the friendly faces of Just Sweet’s staff. I was quickly handed a menu, seated, and greeted by my server. There was no waiting and no being ignored. As I looked over a fairly large dessert menu and a lunch menu with at least fifteen options to choose from, I glanced around the restaurant. Fun music was playing at an appropriate volume, and the interior was just as bright and energetic as the signs outside. In addition, there was a wide range of people dining: a student working on her laptop, a young girl, still in her school uniform, accompanied by her mother, and a group of twenty somethings sipping on ice cold bubble tea.
“It’s interesting; I see a lot of personality here. Plus NYU basically embodies diversity. I meet folks from all walks of life,” said William Wong, owner of Just Sweet, as he sat at my table for a brief Q&A. And it’s true; Just Sweet seems to meet the needs of just about everyone.
I continued to look down at my menu. . . my dessert menu. While I needed real food, I couldn’t help but look at all of the delectable dessert options—crepes, ice cream, pancakes, and the well-known Korean-style shaved ice, an item featured on the Cooking Channel program hosted by Kelsey Nixon, a finalist in season four of the Next Food Network Star. So I started with bubble tea while I continued to decide on my lunch. I ordered a Mango Peach tea and my friend joining me for lunch ordered the classic Thai iced tea. Both drinks came out great. The tapioca was firm and not falling apart, the flavors blended perfectly and the iced tea wasn’t too strong, but tasty and refreshing. In fact, the owner buys fresh tea leaves for his beverages, so refreshing is an understatement. Even better, the drinks came in cute glass mason jars, a final glimpse of the season as summer begins to fade.
Finally we ordered our food: scallion pancakes, pork and shrimp dumplings, and for dessert, the Heart Breaker crepe. Everything came out in a timely fashion. The pancakes seemed to be made out of phyllo dough and were crisped and covered in scallions. They were precut, so the dish was perfect for sharing, and were matched with a light curry sauce, which was not terribly spicy, but a nice flavorful and cultural addition to add to the classic Korean dish. Then came the dumplings, recommended by the owner himself. The dumplings are homemade, and boy, you can tell. The dough was fresh and thick to hold in the mixture of pork and shrimp. Everything was so filling that by the end of the meal, my companion and I weren’t sure if we could handle the Heart Breaker, dreamed up by the owner’s love of Twinkies growing up. But we endured, and while we couldn’t finish the entire plate, we did our best to indulge on a dish made for the ultimate sweet tooth. We were stuffed and happy.
Just Sweet Dessert House is a friendly, inexpensive, quaint Korean-American restaurant that has a lot to offer. They even take NYU Campus Cash! Upon leaving, everyone waved us goodbye and never stopped smiling. The atmosphere was relaxed and the food was great. While I may have to wait a couple weeks to try another Heart Breaker, there’s a full menu of desserts waiting to be tasted, and on another stressful day of school and work, a nice place to sit and a tasty dessert is just what I need.
Daniela Bizzell, Eugene Lang College, The New School University.
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