As any New Yorker knows, cheesecake is as connected to the Big Apple as yellow cabs. A typical New York slice relies on heavy cream and is served in sky-high, thick wedges. So don’t show up to that holiday shindig empty-handed. Bite into some the best in town this season by grabbing this classic dessert at one of our top picks.
ChikaLicious is an artisanal dessert shop, dedicated to giving you the experience generally reserved for the end of a meal at a fancy restaurant. Chef and owner Chika Tillman, formerly of the Gramercy Tavern, serves up individual desserts with wine pairings curated by co-owner and sommelier Don Tillman. Take one of the 20 seats in front of their open kitchen to watch the staff take your dessert from preparation to plating. For $16, you can get their prix-fixe menu, which consists of an amuse, a dessert and some petits-fours. ChikaLicious has its own unique take on the classic cheesecake, offering what it calls Fromage Blanc on ice – we think it is a delicious diversion.
Eileen’s Special Cheesecake
17 Cleveland Place
New York, NY 10012
The beloved bakery started in the 1970s as a wholesaler, but word of their delicious, creamy cheesecake soon spread, and customers came knocking. They’ve built a fiercely loyal following and have won accolades again and again, and eventually opened a satellite location at the World Trade Center, lamentably lost in the attacks. Through it all their classic NY cheesecake has stayed sweet with a little kick. They offer a wide variety of flavors, from plain to cookies and cream, blood orange, and even a tofu variation.
Okay, we know it has satellite locations in Grand Central Station and Times Square – but for us, the original can’t be beat. The Brooklyn staple opened in 1950 and still retains the charm of that era. It’s undeniably the most famous cheesecake on this list. They offer their share of variations as well: strawberry shortcake cheesecake, tiramisu cheesecake, and so forth, but we love the original. It’s on the smaller side of slices on this list – perfectly creamy, smooth and light.
Lady M Cake Boutique
At $70 per 9-inch cheesecake, it had better be excellent. Lady M makes theirs on the creamy side atop a shortbread cookie crust. This spare, white boutique has a modern feel and is usually packed with Upper East Side sophisticates. If you’re looking for a place to have a girls day out, this is it. Put on your best dress and grab a table (although they won’t let you loiter longer than 45 minutes). You’ll feel as though you’ve stepped into an episode of Gossip Girl, or Sex In The City. We can’t mention Lady M without also touting their signature Mille Crepe, which launched this venue into dessert superstardom.
Two Little Red Hens
Two Little Red Hens made our Best Cupcake roundup, and we return to them again for their cheesecake. They make what many consider to be the perfect rendition of the New York cheesecake: Sky-high, smooth and silky, slightly tart with a crumbly graham cracker crust. Reviewers consistently rate it as one of the best – if not THE best – cheesecake in town.
243 Bleecker Street
New York, NY 10014
Bad at sharing? That’s why personal cheesecakes were invented. Snatch one up at Pasticceria Rocco with your espresso and avoid the awkward problem of who eats the last slice.
Veniero’s Pasticceria & Caffe
342 East 11th Street
New York, NY 10003
Italian cheesecake is a different animal. When you want to stray from the classic New York version, head over to Veniero’s. Their cheesecake is in the Sicilian style, which means it is ricotta-based. The result is a lumpier, crumbly confection that is not too sweet. If you wish to stay with the classic NY-style cheesecake, Veniero’s can easily accommodate you, and you won’t be disappointed by their creamy, sweet slice – or try it soaked in rum with cherries.