When we hear the word “mousse,” most of us usually think of a fluffy, almost lighter-than-air dessert made with whipped cream and chocolate and tastes like ice cream, but warm and soft. (Or, you think of a giant antlered mammal lumbering around the wilds of Maine, ha.) But mousse doesn’t have to be sweet at all! The strict definition of a mousse is any food prepared with air bubbles in it to give it a light and airy texture. That includes, of course, the creamy chocolate mousse we celebrated back in April, but it also includes savory mousses. Did you ever think you’d use the same word to describe a light and airy chocolate dessert as you would a dish with foie gras? You can with mousse! 😀
If you want to try something different with a mousse–but are not so sure about dipping into savory mousses just yet–Zenkichi, a Japanese restaurant in Williamsburg, has something for you to try. It’s definitely a sweet dessert mousse, thick and rich but also light and fluffy, and serving it chilled definitely pleases the palette after a meal. But the interesting ingredient in this mousse isn’t a chocolate or a fruity flavor…it’s sesame. Would you think sesame as a dessert food? Consider it now! Made with black sesame seeds dotted throughout the frozen mousse, this dessert has texture and an extra flavor to it that balances out the sweetness of the mousse. (For those who just can’t let go of their dessert mousses, know that it’s also made in a chocolate base. So, there ya go, have some chocolate mousse to boot!) The entrees of this restaurant haven’t really caught the eye of big food critics in New York, but the black sesame dessert mousse has been attracting patrons for quite a while. Head over to Zenkichi and see what all the moussey fuss is all about!
77 N 6th St (between Wythe Ave & Berry St), Williamsburg
“=This was probably one of the lightest, most refreshing mousses I’ve ever had. And I don’t think I ever refer to mousse as refreshing, because it’s usually not. This was frozen chocolate mousse, so it was ice cold, and it had little bits of black sesame seeds throughout. When you bite into it, you think it’s ice cream at first, but it’s so airy, and then you get a bit of sesame seed crunch and you’re like..what is going on here?! I’m confused but I LIKE IT. I didn’t want to stop eating it. Ange was in agreement, considering she said “one more bite” about three times.”–The Skinny Pig NYC
Some reviews from Yelp.com:
“We finished off the meal with dessert: the black sesame mousse and milk pudding. The black sesame dessert is a favorite of mine; it’s been on the menu forever… Silky and smooth; served slightly chilled, it’s almost like ice cream. The milk pudding was good too, like a Japanese version of Panna cotta.”–Kate Y.
“The most memorable dishes were the sauteed eggplant, pork belly & tofu soup, and their sublime black sesame mousse dessert. It’s airy and ethereal, with true sesame flavor. Although more actually like an ice cream rather than a mousse, it’s still worth fighting over so be sure to order 1 per person!”–Emma C.
But for the adventurous New York foodies out there, a savory mousse is definitely the thing to try on National Mousse Day. At Sorella, a decadent mousse is served as part of an appetizer, made up of bacon and a fried egg on top of an English muffin…along with chicken liver mousse, of course 😉 Could you imagine something as dense and heavy as chicken liver becoming light and airy as a mousse? Believe it! Sorella prepares their chicken liver pate with tons of fluffy lightness, which helps balance out all the other rich foods in the appetizer: the bacon, the fried egg…oh, and did I mention the English muffin is prepared with duck fat? With all of that animal fat and heaviness in the dish, you need a little air in your chicken liver pate just to be able to get through it all! It may sound like too much to handle in one little dish, but once you start eating it, you won’t be able to stop, it’s so good. The only downside to Sorella’s chicken liver mousse dish is that you may only want to order it as an appetizer and forego the rest of the meal!
95 Allen St
“Take, for instance, the paté de fegato, Hearst’s signature dish, if she can be said to already have one. A rectangle of “duck-fat English-muffin” bread is toasted, spread with an airy but deeply flavored chicken-liver mousse, crowned with a manicured fried egg, and sprinkled with bits of candied bacon. This Piedmontese Egg McMuffin is undeniably delicious, but no more so than the grilled quail, a moist specimen splayed over a bed of fried potatoes infused with tangerine juice, intermingled with Taggiasca olives, and splattered with beet butter.”–New York Magazine
“These dishes aren’t quite small, aren’t quite large and range from $8 to $16. Each is dubbed a qualcosina, Italian for a “little something,” and the best one may well be a duck fat-soaked muffin that’s not only slathered with a thick chicken-liver mousse but also, in case that’s not heart-stopping action enough, topped with a soft-yolked fried egg and bacon.”–The New York Times
“The restaurant, designed by Resistance, is split into two parts. In the front, a long wooden bar-top allows for communal dining on small plates that range from pastas to a pâté de Fegato, a concoction of chicken-liver mousse, fried egg, pancetta, and a duck-fat English muffin that Hearst calls “the most decadent chicken-liver dish in the city.””–Grubstreet
“The next dish I had was the pate de fegato ($8), a dish I had seen on their online menu before coming and knew I needed to order. It is a duck fat english muffin bread, chicken liver mousse, fried egg, and bacon. And, it is one of the best dishes I have ever eaten in my life! Of course, you don’t want to think about dieting at all when eating this dish, and that is fine (I walked over 40 blocks to the restaurant anyways) it’s just an amazing dish. The bacon is candied and delicious, and gives the dish a nice sweetness. The mousse is smooth and addictive. I literally got a tear in my eye after my first bite, it was that good!”–NYC Foodie
“Our first appetizer was the aforementioned Pate de Fegato. Consisting of duck fat english muffin bread, chicken liver mousse, fried egg, and bacon, it was a calorie-filled delight. I have to confess that I only ate a bite or two, as it was so rich, but I did find it to have an amazing amount of flavor and a nice contrast between the textures. My husband absolutely adored this dish.”–Think Tasty
Some reviews from Yelp.com:
“We went with some of their classics: Pate di fegato (liver), of course. And here is where Dan T. pointed it out right: Flavor. The bite is exceptionally tasty, even when it is chicken liver mousse that I have find in many other places to be bland and tasting like plain liver unseasoned. Here, the duck takes control. And it’s fascinating that apparently it came from the bread, a muffin bread made with duck fat. The liver mousse is more than generous portion, unctuous, rich and filling and it wouldn’t even need the egg, neither the bacon but those additions elevate the dish even more.”–Laura A.
“I been here twice both time I got the Pate. It’s so delicious, I usually go to bed dreaming about it. Thick toast covered in a thick layer of chicken liver mousse topped with a fried egg and bacon bits. It’s so tasty, the egg yolk mixed with the chicken liver mousse creates a nice creamy texture over the crunchy toast with hints of bacon. Also tried the grilled quail which was quite tasty but the pate….. drooling again….”–T. L.
Make sure you check out the updated NYC Food Holidays Map to find this most recent holiday!