BY SARAH GISH, The Kansas City Star, MARCH 21, 2016
When writing about food, I make it a rule to reserve the word “decadent” for over-the-top indulgences such as towering layer cakes, oversized cookies and ice cream sundaes dripping with chocolate sauce.
All of those things are on the menu at Decadent — A Coffee and Dessert Bar. The sweet shop nestled in Overland Park’s Prairiefire development also serves softball-sized cupcakes, house-made doughnuts, cinnamon buns and all kinds of Parisi coffee drinks, from espresso shots to coconut-kissed lattes.
Decadent opened in December and is the creation of Jeff Martin, founder of the rapidly expanding Smallcakes Cupcakery and Creamery chain.
Smallcakes, which now has about 160 locations worldwide, is all about grab-and-go treats. Decadent serves the small-batch cupcakes and ice cream that Smallcakes is known for — but the shop also offers scratch-made, beautifully plated desserts like you’d order at an upscale restaurant.
“You just don’t have to go through three or four courses to get to it,” Martin said, adding that he hopes to eventually expand the Decadent concept with additional locations.
“I think Decadent is the future for fast-casual desserts.”
On Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings, there’s often a line outside Decadent’s door. The most-requested menu item is easily the skillet chocolate chip cookie ($6), baked fresh and served warm in a hot cast iron skillet with a scoop of smooth vanilla bean ice cream and drizzles of caramel and hot fudge.
“It’s so simple, but people love it,” Martin says. “They go like hotcakes.”
Other chef-inspired desserts on Decadent’s menu include molten lava cake ($7.95), carrot cake with cinnamon ice cream ($6) and lemon mascarpone cake ($6.50). I particularly like the lemon cake, with its creamy frosting and baked-in blueberries. Its flavors are fit for spring.
If you stop by Decadent on a warm afternoon, peruse the ice cream case. Each flavor is made in small batches and inspired by a Smallcakes cupcake. Options change daily but might include Lily’s strawberry, red velvet and salted caramel crunch. A single scoop costs $3.50.
I like the shop’s salted caramel crunch cupcake ($3.50), which tops deep, dark chocolate cake with caramel frosting, sea salt and chopped pretzel. The rich, sticky frosting reminds me of Rolo chocolate-covered caramels, my go-to candy during childhood.
If you were more of a Pop-Tarts or Twinkies kid, fear not: Decadent serves house-made versions of both. The shop also allows customers to design custom ice cream sandwiches. Pick two cookies and an ice cream flavor and a Decadent employee will make the sandwich before your eyes.
Decadent is dessert-centric, but during the day, it has a coffee shop vibe. The space has concrete floors, an industrial gray color scheme, big windows and an accent wall painted flamingo pink. If you’re there in the morning, try a cappuccino ($3.25 for a small) or fresh-squeezed orange juice ($3.50) with a croissant or muffin.
The shop also serves a few savory items, including a breakfast sandwich called the Southern Charm Biscuit ($6) layered with eggs, turkey sausage and Cheddar cheese.
Not decadent enough for you? Go for it with the Hot Donuts dessert ($5), two warm glazed doughnuts topped with vanilla ice cream and powdered sugar. Everything in moderation, right?
Sarah Gish: 816-234-4823, @sarah_gish