Veniero's Pastry Shop
Whether you like Italian ricotta cheesecake, or NY cream cheese cheesecake, you will not be disappointed. The ricotta cheesecake and the cannoili are the closest to Italian that I have tasted in the States. Delicious! Too bad that after being open 115 years Veniero's has such a dull and nondescript dining area. Still, that hardly matters when you are digging into a piece of their luscious cheesecake.
Open since 1894, Veniero's was first a cafe and pool hall where Antonio Veniero served his baked goods to customers. Today, after 115 years, and countless awards, Veniero's is still serving some of the finest baked goods in NYC. Although Veniero's looks like a quaint European bakery from the outside, with baskets of cookies and charming Fall window decorations, sadly, it has lost much of its character and charm on the inside. Not that there is anything wrong with the 40ft counter of cookies, cakes, pies, tartes, and huge cheesecakes that greets you walk in the door. But, the dining room itself was dull, lackluster, and boring, with nondescript blond-wood tables and chairs, and a low, too close for comfort, stained glass ceiling.
Though there was only one sever on this night, he was efficient, and pleasant.
Veniero's has such an amazing selection of treats that you could try a different item every day of the month and still not go through them all. The berry tartes and biscotti looked amazing, but it was the cheesecake that brought us here and, so, cheesecake is what we ordered. First, we tried a pice of Italian cheesecake ($4), made with ricotta. Usually denser and less sweet than American cheesecake, this is most often my favorite, and this version was excellent: heavy, eggy, almost cake-like in texture, with slight hints of vanilla and orange peel. and a thin delicate crust, almost like pie crust. To compare and contrast, we had a traditional New York cheesecake ($4), for which Veniero's is famous. This one, made with cream cheese and sour cream, was smoother and sweeter than the other, with a velvety and creamy, though firm, texture. It was served nice and cold. Unlike most American cheesecakes, it did not have a crust of any kind. Both cheesecakes were amazing though, surprisingly, I preferred the NY cheesecake over the Italian one. I just liked the cool, refreshing sweetness of it. Just to try, I also ordered a mini cannoli. Cannoli is always one of my favorite things in Italy and this was the closest to Italian canoli I have tasted in the States. The center was a perfect sweet ricotta, heavy and thick, like it is in Italy. The shell was a little soggy from being refrigerated but still had perfect flavor. I don't know if I would order it again, though I'm glad I tried it. If you never had Italian cannoli, try this one.
Great pastries, cheesecake, etc. at reasonable prices, Good service.
Seating area is lackluster and dull.