Finding New York's Best Cheese Cake
Nothing sums up New York better than a fat slice of cheesecake on a plate. A no-fuss dessert that hits the spot on any occasion, the New York cheesecake is as much part of the city’s persona as horn honking and jaywalking.
Its origins come from European immigrant culinary experimentation – surely some homesick cook longing for a taste of Mama’s baked cheese who-knows-what. No one can really pinpoint its exact beginning, other than it’s a product of many cultures and recipes.
Its principal ingredient, cream cheese, was invented in 1872, so the cheesecake we recognise today must have started to form from some time around then. Today’s recipe has remained simple: cream cheese, sugar and eggs on a Graham cracker base. There are variations and modern twists that have become serious contenders (Oreo cheesecake or salted caramel cheesecake anyone?). Still, you can’t beat the delicious simplicity of a creamy wadge of plain white cheesecake... and we’ll let you have the strawberries on top.
So when visiting New York City, where is the best place for cheesecake? That’s like choosing a favourite Beatles song - impossible. However, here are the top three picks for the best New York cheesecake experience.
1. EILEEN’S SPECIAL CHEESECAKE
The story of Eileen’s success is a romantic and sweet one. Wandering the streets in the early 1970s, overcome by the death of her beloved mother, a young Eileen was approached by a new baker who asked her to sample his cheesecake. Eileen burst into tears on the first bite, thoroughly overcome by this man’s inferior recipe to her mother’s. Eileen then baked her mother’s recipe, and the rest is history. Eileen’s cheesecake is now delivered to States far and wide, as its light and fluffy texture is so delicious it is impossible to take just one bite. The small Soho bakery you eat in now is still the original location of Eileen’s first premises.
Address: 17 Cleveland Pl, New York, NY 10012
2. SARGE’S DELICATESSEN AND DINER
The great thing about Sarge’s is its unpretentious atmosphere. It’s the kind of place where real New York families go out with the kids on school nights when Mom and Dad don’t have the energy to cook a meal for everybody. The kids love it; the pastrami sandwiches are delicious, the waitresses have worked here for 100 years – there are no whistles and bells, and that’s what makes it so endearing. Plus, the cheesecake is big, goopy and fabulous.
Address: 548 3rd Ave, New York, NY 10016
3. VENIERO’S PASTICCERIA & CAFFE
Address: 342 E 11th St, New York, NY 10003
A New York institution, Veniero’s offering of pastries and cakes makes your mouth salivate from the moment you walk in. Like Sarge’s, Veniero’s has not succumbed to ‘trendiness’, and the decor is reassuringly basic, but through their clear glass display counter, eyeballs become engorged with all things calorific and tempting. The cheesecake here is extra creamy and so popular that their takeaway cakes sell out faster than any other.