If you take a detour onto 60th St off the main street of Brooklyn’s Chinatown, you’ll come by a rather nondescript shopfront: black awning and a large window. Peep in and you’ll see a comfortable nook covered in plump black and yellow cushions and a surprisingly airy space filled with a counter and spindly tables. Go inside. Be prepared to stay for a while. The group of friends behind Palais de Sweet, tired of the same old Chinese bakeries—walk in, order, receive a container, eat, leave—came up with the idea of opening a place where customers come to be pampered, with attentive service and beautiful presentation, not to mention a unique menu found nowhere else featuring traditional asian desserts as well as slightly tweaked French favorites.
True to their word, my friend and I were given the royal treatment. The owners had prepared a hand written menu especially for Inside New York. We began with a Hong Kong milk tea ($2.25), made with freshly steeped red tea leaves (the brand of which is a highly guarded secret) and creamy milk. I must say, I was extremely impressed that they brought it to us at the perfect temperature to sip and savor.
After we were about halfway through the very large mugs, we were brought bowls of warm Almond Steamed Milk ($6.50). The idea was to create something akin to a creme brulee that would cater more towards Asian tastes: lighter, and without the burnt sugar top. With the consistency of melt-in-your-mouth pudding, you absolutely must get this when you arrive.
Unless, of course, you would prefer the more traditional creme brulee ($6.50), which is excellent as well, albeit, slightly less sweet than creme brulees found elsewhere. Personally, I loved the fact that Palais de Sweet is careful with the sugar (though your waiter would be perfectly happy to adjust your food to your tastes) despite the fact that I have a notorious sweet tooth. Also, had everything been slightly more saccharine, I doubt that I could have eaten as much as I did.
The next course was a traditional Chinese health dish: a chilled papaya and fungus soup ($3.50). Fungus is widely eaten throughout Asia as it is thought to have beautifying properties, and it is has a nice crunchy/chewy consistency, though it is almost tasteless. Mixed with stewed papayas, this would be perfect after walking around Brooklyn on a hot summer’s day.
Afterwards, we were treated to a ginger souffle, which is not yet on the menu, although you currently can order a classic or a green tea souffle ($6.00). While not a fan of ginger, I was surprised to find myself reaching back to take yet another spoonful of the airy creation despite the fact that I told myself to save room for the piece de resistance: chocolate lava cake ($6.50).
I would like to proclaim this chocolate lava cake the best that I have ever eaten. Feel free to disagree, but only after you’ve tried it. Nowhere near as dense as your average lava cake, the shell is so delicate that it almost falls apart the minute you get your fork close to it. The chocolate sauce within is incredibly thick and creamy, and as it drifts towards the scoop of vanilla ice cream conveniently situated to the side, it mixes to form a hot fudge sundae pool. Even though I was incredibly full, I managed to put down the whole plate in two seconds flat.
It took three years of experimentation to come up with the recipes on the ever revolving menu, and boy, does it show. The chef explained that the name of the restaurant was inspired by the the chef’s girlfriend, who is endearingly referred to as “a princess.” And like her, each customer is treated to the same respect and attention as each dessert is meticulously prepared as soon as you order it and brought out with perfect presentation.
706 60th St, Sunset Park Brooklyn