A new kind of DIY dessert concept debuted this week in the heart of Little Italy. The 35-seat iDessert shop specializes in build-your-own desserts based on the sweet creations of iDessert founder and master pastry chef and chocolatier Jean-Phillippe Maury.
A four-year San Diego resident, Maury initially thought to expand here with his upscale Jean-Philippe Patisserie, which currently resides in Las Vegas' ARIA and Bellagio hotels, but ultimately decided to use San Diego to launch the flagship of the iDessert concept. Maury says iDessert, which took two years in development, aims to provide fast, affordable yet high-quality treats; if the first shop succeeds, the chef will likely open another in North County and then launch in markets beyond San Diego.
Open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Thursday and closing at midnight on Friday and Saturday, iDessert offers the ultimate in customization; orders are placed via iPad and start with a meringue base offered in 18 different varieties, from hazelnut to cinnamon; from there, you choose a housemade gelato or sorbet and a flavored cream. You can stop there, or keep building with a layer of homemade cake, a sauce, fresh fruit or warm fruit compote and a crunchy component — anything from crisp chocolate pearls to candy pieces. There are even gluten-free options for every category. Once you're done entering your order, it's sent to an iDessert staffer who assembles your dessert in just a few minutes; for extra flair, get the Vegas option, which arrives in a cloud of dry ice. The base price for an iDessert is just $4.95 and $9.75 for a fully tricked-out version.
If it all sounds too complicated, handy videos play to demonstrate how to properly assemble and eat an iDessert. And if the choices are mind-boggling, the chef offers pre-programmed creations that range from 'intense' to 'exotic'. Beyond the signature desserts, there are also customizable sundaes, shakes and a variety of espresso drinks.