Veniero's (East Village, 11th St near corner of 1st Ave) sometimes has good pumpkin pie from around this time of year through a few weeks after Thanksgiving. Five or 10 yrs ago, I would have said they serve the absolute best pumpkin pie in the world (well, excluding the one your grandma bakes). But things have changed in the past few years. The taste is inconsistent -- sometimes they're amazing; other times, they are just so-so. I think some of the inconsistency may be due to variability in the spice mix. Also, the crust of late can sometimes be too soggy.
The place with "Build a Green Bakery" on the window?
That's strange: when I asked how much they were last week, I was told $35 each.
(Maybe $35 was for large and $28 for small? I've only seen one size on display in their window.)
Of course, the counter guy assured me that they're delicious.
Would like to hear if any hounds have actually had one of them.
Your suggestions inspired me to continue looking for good pumpkin pie. Here's my take after a survey during the past few days.
Citarella - nicely crisp but flavorless crust; really unpleasant-tasting filling (had a chlorophyll sort of green taste, for lack of a better word - reminded me why I didn't like their pumpkin pie in the past)
Little Pie Company (14th St branch) - filling pretty good, not as spicy as I would like but still somewhat appealing; crust crisp at bottom of dish but slightly soggy right under the filling
Sarabeth's (Chelsea Market branch) - I had a pumpkin tartlet, rather than a pie, so it may not be a fair comparison - best crust of the bunch (crisp, flaky, and buttery); filling also good, but not quite as good as Little Pie Company's or Two Little Red Hens in a head-to-head match
Two Little Red Hens - nice firm and crumbly crust with a rather earthy flavor; good filling (this was a slice of their pumpkin pie, not their pumpkin mousse tart or pie, which I have not yet tried)
Zabar's didn't have any pumpkin pies left when I went by the other day; they said they should have some in next week for Thanksgiving.
Unfortunately, while I could enjoy another pumpkin pie from any of these (except Citarella), none of them could hold a candle to the pies they used to serve at Veniero's.
OK, Hallowe'en has come and gone.
But for reference for next year:
I recently tried a pumpkin pies from a few other places.
Mitchell London - reasonably good filling, crisp crust; rather pricy
Two Little Red Hens' pumpkin mousse tart (different from their pumpkin pie) -
very subtle flavors (barely a hint of pumpkin or spice), but the textures are what make this a standout dish (crunchy tart crust and creamy mousse); would get this dish again just for the textures
Buttercup Bake Shop (W 72nd) - good filling, crisp flaky crust
Zabar's didn't have pumpkin as of Tues before Thanksgiving, so can't comment on theirs.
Thus far, I would put Buttercup Bake Shop's pumpkin pie as the best I had this year (including pies mentioned in earlier post in this thread). Even so, still not as good as what they used to serve at Veniero's.