Is Dolce Vizio, The City's Only Tiramisu Parlor, Down for the Count?
Yesterday, workmen were seen briefly visiting the premises.
I'm not the world's biggest fan of tiramisu. Rather than being an ancient Italian creation, it was invented in 1969 at restaurant near Treviso, a region in far northeastern Italy. (Yes, there may have been earlier pastries that inspired it.) According to one theory, tourists were crestfallen to learn there were no desserts on the menu in area restaurants, as is the case in most of Italy. Tiramisu was invented for them. It seems like what an Italian dessert would be like if there were one. For the restaurateur, it involves the simplest and most easy-to-acquire ingredients and represents a welcome profit center. Real Italians finish up their belt-busting three-course meals with sweet digestifs.
Proprietors of Dolce Vizio: New updated sign needed!
Yes, pastries are available all over Italy, but mainly eaten with coffee in the morning or at teatime in the afternoon. Many of these sweet treats originated in Sicily (or sometimes, Switzerland), during the period when the island was a French possession.
Tiramisu ("Pick Me Up") can be made any number of ways; the very elasticity of the recipe aids in its popularity. Usually, though, it consists of a collection of ladyfinger cookies of varying textures dipped in coffee or liqueur and arrayed like a picket fence around a filling of mascarpone, egg, and sugar. Sometimes the pastry has cocoa sprinkled on top, or between layers of the filling, or both. All sorts of other things can find their way into the construction, too, ranging from preserved cherries to drizzled fruit syrups to choclate chunks to cookie crumbs. I've even had one version that I swear was dusted with instant coffee.
So I was somewhat skeptical when a place opened in the West Village promising to be all tiramisu, all of the time. Could the place possibly succeed? Nevertheless, I wished the place well, if only because it's great to live in a city with all sorts of weird and narrowly defined eateries.
If I read this correctly, it claims to be the only such store in the world.
The appeal of Nutella is undeniable.
The place occupied a corner of the intersection of Christopher and Hudson, with views of St. Luke's Church out its picture windows. I can't say the storefront enjoyed a hell of a lot of traffic, maybe never having found the constituency of dating couples in love that the tenor of the place suggested.
Late in May brown paper went up in the windows, and a notice was affixed that said, in part, "Prettying Up The Place And Taking Needed Vacation. Be Back June 11, 2012." Well, this last Monday rolled around and the place failed to open. Yesterday, I saw workmen coming out with orange bags from a local hardware store. They didn't look anything like the previous proprietors. But that doesn't mean anything.
Calls were placed to numbers on the website and email sent, but to no avail. Fork in the Road doesn't like to jump the gun, but the place looks and feels like it's closed for good. Should we blame the restaurateurs or should we blame the dessert?
Just FYI - Though Sweet Vice claimed a sort of exclusivity far as the dessert was concerned, the fact of the matter is that there is a place in the East Village called Paradiso: La Casa del Tirsmisu.
Believe it or not, another place in town also specializes in tiramisu.
A recently encountered version of the dessert
Here's hoping Dolce Vizio will reopen, and we're keeping a careful eye on it. We'll report if any signs of life are detected.
Follow me on Twitter -- @robertsietsema
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