It’s strange writing a conclusion for cheesecake because I feel like I already did that. A few months back, I was asked to write an article for Gothamist about the best cheesecakes in the city. It sped up my journey and I kind of feel like I can now send people to that article when asking where the best is in the city.
But I still should have some sort of conclusion on this site. And so here it is.
The truth is when people ask me where to get the best, most authentic cheesecake, it’s difficult because I feel like you really need to travel outside of Manhattan to find a true taste of the city. And it’s not at Junior’s.
Sure, you can stick in Manhattan and try Eileen’s delectable Italian/New York hybrid cake. It has a perfect balance between dense/creamy and light/airy. It’s fantastic.
Or if you want to get a little unconventional with your cheesecake, I strongly recommend visiting Chikalicious Dessert Bar (for more reasons than just this) to see how she interprets the dessert and makes it her own by forming it into an irresistible sphere.
Also, Israeli-owned Breads Bakery leans more on the lemon for its cream cheese-based concoction and it’s great.
The most authentic slice in Manhattan is probably at Two Little Red Hens. It’s a bit out-of-the-way, but the bakery is a worthy trip for both their cupcakes and this excellent New York-style cheesecake with a buttery graham cracker crust and a perfectly browned crown.
But the holy grail for cheesecake is out in the boroughs. If you can deal with lots of public transportation (or you own a car), it’s worth going to the far reaches of Queens to taste the little cakes at La Cheesecake where they really do wonders with a sponge cake bottom.
In Brooklyn, Mona Lisa Bakery is an old-school Italian pastry shop that does both the cream cheese-based New York style and the ricotta-based Italian style. This time of year, you can see the Christmas lights in Dyker Heights and then walk over here for dessert.
But the cheesecake I tasted that made me fully understand why this is such a worshipped dessert could only be found at a warehouse in the northernmost borough. After hunting down the entrance to S&S Cheesecake and buying an entire cake in the Bronx, I felt like my journey was over. The kosher bakery makes my favorite cheesecake in the city with a browned top and a clean, smooth mouthfeel. The flavor walks that perfect line between sweet and tart. It’s a New York classic.
My apologies if this a repeat for those that read my Gothamist article. But without this summary of my journey, the cheesecake adventure doesn’t quite feel complete. And, of course, it never is because there are plenty of new places and some old ones that I didn’t manage to conquer. So this won’t be the last you’ll read about the dense New York specialty. Stay tuned and check out all the rankings here.