Monday, September 27, 2010

La Dolce Vita in the East Village

Veniero's Pastry Shop, an East Village institution
Despite the constant stream of great new eateries in the East Village, sometimes I don't want to try the latest flavor of the week. I want the comfort of old, tried and true. Especially with dessert, where classic trumps experimental any day.
You can't get more traditional or legendary than Veniero's on E. 11th St. The old-world, family-owned pasticceria and cafe dates back to 1894, and stepping foot inside is a magical walk back in time. Under the ornate stained glass ceilings, dozens of mouthwatering sweets greet you as they have for four generations. Your eyes widen, you can't help but smile. So many many glorious calories. Cheesecakes, cannoli, tiramisu, biscotti, fruit tarts, strawberry shortcake, Black Forest cake, Red Velvet cake, and pastries galore. Even gelato! The menu lists more than 60 desserts, made from scratch daily. There are even sugar, gluten and dairy-free items.

Veniero's decadent desserts
Their signature New York cheesecake (with strawberries, $4.50) is utterly scrumptious. Rich and decadently creamy. Just as good as Mom's, in fact. The Sicilian cheesecake ($4.50), made with ricotta rather than cream cheese, is lighter and hints of lemon. For coffee lovers, the enormous slice of mocha espresso cake ($4.50) definitely delivers.  And don't miss their famous pignoli cookies ($2.50 for 2) - chewy marzipan morsels studded with crunchy pine nuts. Ridiculously delicious.

A visit to Veniero's is like being transported to Venice's Piazza San Marco for a sweet hour or two. 342 E. 11th Street (between 1st and 2nd Avenues).

Veniero's Pasticceria & Caffe' on Urbanspoon

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